When I’m watching a ball game, I don’t usually care what anyone but me wants to eat. (Another hot dog? No, I’ll switch it up and have a taco.) So I’m not sure why I started to think about what Major League Baseball players like to eat off the field. Maybe it’s the recent book Diamond Dishes: From the Kitchens of Baseballs Biggest Stars. Or maybe I just wasn’t hungry at the moment. Anyway, several heroes from the 2011 All-Star game have strong opinions about what they eat.
Brian Wilson, San Francisco Giants. Eight Egg White Omelette.
He told ESPN: “I'm an adequate cook. I'm not preparing a five course meal, but I can cook the things I want….For breakfast I'll usually make an eight egg-white omelette with bell peppers, shredded cheese, and slices or ham and turkey ripped up… I probably eat between 54 and 60 eggs a week.”
Here’s why I love Wilson: He name-checked the renowned Bay Area restaurant Gary Danko in an All-Star interview. “If you’re not familiar with it, it’s a 14-star restaurant. It’s got everything that you could possibly want. The lobster risotto—If there was another word for excellent...”
Prince Fielder, Milwaukee Brewers. Boca Burgers.
Guess what – Fielder is a vegetarian. (He got grossed out by meat after his wife gave him a copy of the book Skinny Bitch.) So he loads up his Boca burgers with ketchup; on the road he eats meatless burritos. I’m not sure if they offer them at Brewers stadium but they do have vegetarian hot dogs and fried cheese curds, which sound awesome to me, but apparently not to Fielder who doesn’t love cheese.
Lance Berkman, St. Louis Cardinals. Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwich.
In Diamond Dishes, Berkman says: “One thing I will eat fairly consistently before a game – because you don't want to eat too much before a game – is a peanut butter and banana sandwich with a little honey on it. I like white bread, but sometimes I feel guilty and eat wheat." But when he’s watching football, it’s a different story: "I like the Canadian bacon and pineapple Hawaiian pizza."
Alex Rodriguez, New York Yankees. Fish and plain steamed vegetables.
Here’s a sampling of Rodriguez’s daily diet: fruit, brown rice and scrambled eggs for breakfast, five slices of turkey, no bread and half a sweet potato pre-game and then fish and steamed asparagus – no oil, butter or salt —for dinner. No, Rodriguez and I don’t have much in common diet-wise. Except that when he was at the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas he very much enjoyed the paella at Jaleo and a big platter of sushi at Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar & Grill, and separately, I did, too.
Baseball Stadium Foods
Jody Adams (second from left, front row) and her PMC Team Rialto at Fenway Park.
It’s hard not to feel a tinge of guilt eating and drinking around Bordeaux and Paris while the Tour de France is going on. Every morning I’d hop on the bike at our hotel gym and ride along to the Tour coverage on the TV before going off to stuff myself with stinky French cheeses, buttery croissants, macarons and wine from Château Smith Haut Lafitte. After watching the grueling mountain climbs and speedy sprint trials, I have a whole new respect for cyclists. So a huge shout out is in order for Boston chef Jody Adams of Rialto, who is training for the Pan-Mass Challenge bike ride. The two-day ride takes place August 6 and 7, and covers 192 miles from Sturbridge, Massachusetts, to Provincetown, Massachusetts. Jody has been training with Sean Griffing and Eric Papachristos, who are partners in Trade, her new restaurant which opens this fall. Their team has set a goal of raising more than $50,000 to donate to the cancer research and treatment at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Click here to make a donation and support their ride.
I’ve always believed that South Americans are the ultimate hedonists. Talk about a culture that knows how to live well. For example, in Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay, today, July 20, is Friend’s Day (El Día del Amigo). Locals celebrate by gathering friends around the table to eat and drink. That’s my kind of holiday. In honor of Friend’s Day, I’ll be drinking Bodega Elena de Mendoza Malbec (a fantastic wine from Mendoza that’s newly imported to the States), eating empanadas and watching the COPA semifinals soccer game being played in Mendoza. Here, some other ways to celebrate Friend’s Day:
1. Have an asado (barbecue) with friends. Try these recipes from South American grillmaster Francis Mallman.
2. Host an Argentinean wine tasting. Try these bottles.
3. Host a dinner party and make our delicious empanada recipe.
© Nathan Rawlinson
Labeling a special beer, Local 11, for a once-in-a-lifetime dinner at Eleven Madison Park.
Beer is often associated with backyard barbecues and sporting events, but writer Christian DeBenedetti reports on the growing trend of craft beer showing up in some of the country’s best restaurants:
“American craft beer's surge into the spotlight has taken many forms, but until relatively recently, beer dinners in ultra-fine-dining settings were generally considered oddities, one-offs or experiments, rather than the norm. No longer: American brewers from the likes of Allagash in Maine, Oregon's Deschutes and Delaware's Dogfish Head are working with top-tier chefs from Thomas Keller of Per Se to Dan Barber of Blue Hill at Stone Barns to present beers and foods that are well matched and fun to try together.
Recently the beer dinner concept hit a new high with the collaboration between New York's Brooklyn Brewery and Eleven Madison Park. For the event, brewmaster Garrett Oliver worked with chef Daniel Humm, Eleven Madison Park general manager Will Guidara and Eleven Madison Park dining room manager/beer coordinator Kirk Kelewae to create a pairing menu almost entirely from scratch.
The dinner included Local 11, a beer made by aging the dark, abbey-style ale Brooklyn Local 2 in 20-year old Pappy Van Winkle whiskey barrels. It had never been tasted outside the brewery before this dinner. "Garrett really opened my eyes in a big way," said Humm. "Craft beer works really well with food; there's so much to it. And it's not just rustic food—sausages and stuff like that—but also really refined food, because the beers are really refined."
Unlike most beer dinners—perhaps any other beer dinner that has ever taken place—the collaboration started with the beers, not the menu. "We're getting a chance to show the real creative evolution of the brewery," Oliver told me as guests sipped on an aperitif beer called The Concoction, inspired by the classic Penicillin cocktail and redolent of whisky, ginger, lemon and honey. "Usually these things are done by e-mail," Oliver continued. "The chef sends me a menu, I send back the pairings. And it often turns out wonderfully. This time, the Eleven Madison Park team came out to the brewery and spent three-and-a-half hours tasting with us. Then they went back with the beers and developed the menu in the other direction. This is a whole new way to do things."
The night’s highlights included a foie gras terrine with strawberry, yuzu and black pepper paired with Wild 1, a beer brewed in 2008 and aged in Woodford Reserve bourbon barrels, then refermented with Brettanomyces, the earthy, fickle yeast strain prized by Belgian brewers; and Pennsylvania's Four Story Hill Farm suckling pig with apricot and cardamom, paired with the Local 11. Oliver, for his part, was ecstatic. "I've done about 700 beer dinners, but this is the ultimate."
Here's a photo gallery from former Eleven Madison Park sommelier-turned-professional photographer Nathan Rawlinson along with a short video report.
Courtesy of Louis/Dressner Selections
On a hot, dewy day in Brooklyn earlier this month, I married my extraordinarily lovely wife, Liz. In what seems to be turning into a Food & Wine tradition
, I thought I'd write up the bottles we served at the reception.
2009 Vittorio Bera & Figli Arcese ($15)
Before we'd even picked a menu, Liz and I were dead-set on this Italian white—just because we really like it. It's a little of a lot of things: peachy, salty, effervescent, and there's a touch of pleasing funk that mingles with a floral scent on the nose. On top of all that, it has a satisfying crispness that makes it great with food.
2010 Domaine de Pajot Les Quatre Cépages ($10)
We thought this southern French blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Gros Manseng, Ugni Blanc and Colombard would be a safe crowd-pleaser. It's straightforward, with apricot and zippy lime flavors, but also delicious (as well as quenching and thoroughly gulpable).
2010 Thierry Puzelat Le Tel Quel ($17)
This wine, from a brilliant Loire Valley winemaker, beat out a gorgeous Côtes-du-Rhône by Marcel Richaud, a brilliant Rhône winemaker. Puzelat's bottle won for one reason: We could serve it cool. Did I mention that this was New York City in July? A light chill seemed to focus this Gamay's intense raspberry flavor.
We'd been just a bit worried that guests wouldn't go for a chilled red or the slightly oddball Arcese, but they turned out to be big hits. Lesson: Pour what you love.
© Steven Solomon
The Riesling-obsessed sommelier of NYC's Terroir, Paul Grieco, with the German Wine Queen.
You never know what you’re going to learn when you flip through sommelier Paul Grieco’s wine list at Terroir in NYC. In addition to wine descriptions and tasting notes, there might be a love letter to Spain’s FC Barcelona soccer team or a poem about Lindsay Lohan and Justin Timberlake. The other night I stopped in, and after flipping through pages of Rieslings, I came to a page about the Summer of Riesling
concert and cruise, taking place July 19. The three-hour cruise around NY Harbor includes three awesome bands and tons of Riesling, and it will be captained by Grieco and the Deutschen Weinkoenigin (German wine queen) from the Ahr region. For tickets, click here
© Michael Toolan
Hungry crowds at the first annual Philadelphia Vendy Awards.
Food-truck visionaries, like L.A.’s Roy Choi
of Kogi fame and the folks behind NYC's Rickshaw Dumpling Bar
, are transforming their cities into street-food meccas. Now, nearly every city in America is undergoing its own street-food revolution. “Philadelphia has a really vibrant street-food culture,” says Helena Tubis, managing director of the New York–based Vendy Awards, “but it doesn’t get recognition.” Inspired by three Philadelphia vendors who visited the 2010 Vendys in New York, the City of Brotherly Love celebrated its own first annual Vendy Awards
last weekend, honoring the street vendors who keep Philly well-fed on the go. Finalists included old standbys as well as fresh new faces: Vendy Cup winner Gigi and Big R’s truck has been serving Caribbean-American soul food for 10 years, while People’s Choice Award winner Cucina Zapata, which serves Thai-Mexican fusion tacos, has been open only two months.
Now in its seventh year, the NYC Vendys
are scheduled for September 24 (tickets available here
). New Yorkers have already submitted more than a thousand nominations for their favorite vendors, including nominees for the new Most Heroic Vendor Award, which recognizes the non-culinary ways street-food vendors contribute to their local communities (such as the vendor who foiled a Times Square car bomb attempt
in 2010). As if turning out awesome lunches for thousands of New Yorkers every day weren’t heroic enough.
© Nicole Franzen
The dining room at Untitled.
Museum restaurants are no longer merely traps for exhausted art patrons with low blood sugar: Visionary restaurants like The Modern at the Museum of Modern Art and Palettes at the Denver Art Museum have raised the bar and given way to a second wave of delicious new openings. At New York’s Whitney Museum of American Art, a slice of Four & Twenty Blackbirds’ salted caramel apple pie is an awesome mid-afternoon pick-me-up at Danny Meyer’s Untitled, which opened in March. A few time zones away, the brand-new Eddie Aikau Restaurant & Surf Museum opens this weekend in Waikoloa, Hawaii, dedicated to the memory of the beloved big-wave surf legend. (The museum opens July 3, and the restaurant opens on July 4.) Chef Scott Lutey’s contemporary Hawaiian menu highlights ultra-local ingredients in dishes like lacquered kalua pork belly and Molokai watermelon salad with candied macadamia nuts. And on Independence Day, chef John Besh opens his new Soda Shop at the National WWII Museum in New Orleans. The casual spot will serve fountain sodas in flavors like melon and pineapple, as well as house-made ice creams like Creole Cream Cheese Red Velvet.
© Long Meadow Ranch Winery & Farmstead
The grounds of Long Meadow Ranch Winery will host the first pop-up party.
The epic Outside Lands Music & Arts Festival in San Francisco is still more than a month away (August 12–14). This year, the team that produces Outside Lands, Another Planet Entertainment and Superfly Presents (look for them in Food & Wine’s August Hungry Crowd column), decided to create teaser events throughout the Bay Area that will feature the musicians, winemakers and cooks participating in the fest this year. The pop-up food, wine and music parties kick off July 9, with a wine tasting and live performance by Nicki Bluhm & the Gramblers at Long Meadow Ranch Winery. Other events include a taco-and-wine picnic at Sonoma’s stellar Scribe winery and a tasting of Kermit Lynch’s extensive rosé collection paired with grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup shooters from The American Grilled Cheese Kitchen. For more event details, click here.
© Chris Quinlan
In our July issue
, Frank Bruni wrote a great piece
about cooking from chef Jonathan Waxman’s new book, Italian, My Way
. I was fortunate enough to experience the book with much less effort than Bruni put in—Waxman cooked from it Monday night at the fantastic Frasca Food and Wine
in Boulder, Colorado, as part of their Monday Night Wine Dinner
series. Italian winemaker Giampaolo Venica poured some of his hyper-aromatic, unoaked whites, like the Venica & Venica
2010 Sauvignon Blanc Ronco delle Mele, with Waxman’s dishes.
© Chris Quinlan
Waxman and the Frasca team
It was the chef's fish courses that really blew me away. (Maybe it was the perfect preparation—Waxman was assisted by Frasca chef Lachlan Mackinnon Patterson (an F&W Best New Chef 2005) and his team—or perhaps it was coming off a meat-centric weekend at the F&W Classic in Aspen). Smoked-trout-and-mascarpone crostini was sweet and smoky, swordfish carpaccio with English pea and herb vinaigrette melted in my mouth and a superlight, tempura-style fritto misto was fantastic. Mackinnon Patterson said it best when he called Waxman “the most soulful chef” he’s cooked with.