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Mouthing Off

By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine

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Cookbooks

Jonathan Waxman's Way

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Swordfish Carpaccio

© Chris Quinlan
Swordfish Carpaccio

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.

Restaurants

The New Rules for Celebrity Restaurants

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The Breslin's Lemon-Ricotta Pancakes with Orange Syrup

© Lucy Schaeffer
The Breslin's Lemon-Ricotta Pancakes with Orange Syrup

Celebrities have been frequenting restaurants for a while now—the Algonquin Round Table was in full effect in the 1920s. So we won’t pretend it's news to see a famous person sitting in a dining room. But it’s quite amazing to see how far some restaurants go these days to protect their more recognizable guests. Here’s Ken Friedman, co-owner of such NYC celeb hang-outs as the Spotted Pig and the Breslin, sounding like Brad Pitt in Fight Club. “The first rule at my restaurants is don’t talk about who’s eating at my restaurants.”
 
Here are some other rules we've seen NYC restaurants employ.
 
*Close the blinds to the street when the paparazzi line up outside. (A rule followed by the staff at Marea the second someone like Michael Douglas walks in.)
 
*Seat the best-known people in the corner. At Craft, table #158, deep in the restaurant, is set aside so anyone supremely famous (like LeBron James who rented out Craft's LA outpost for a party) can be escorted right there.  
 
*Seat the best-known people in the kitchen. At his newest restaurant The John Dory, Friedman created a chef’s table in the kitchen. What about the rumor that Jay-Z wanted a chef’s table, with real chairs, as an alternative to the stools that make up the seating in the rest of the restaurant? “We didn't create the table for anyone in particular," says Friedman. "The chef’s table is fun, it’s in the kitchen,” says Friedman. “Plus who wants to sit on stools all the time? I don’t; neither does Charlie Rose.”
 
Related Links:
Gwyneth Paltrow’s Favorite Restaurants
100+ Tastes to Try
Tom Colicchio’s Road Trip
Best Chefs with Hotel Restaurants

(Pictured above: The Breslin's Ricotta Pancakes with Orange Syrup)

News

Bonnaroo Food Redux

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© Nathaniel Schoen


Those lucky enough to have been at Manchester, Tennessee’s epic four-day Bonnaroo festival last weekend are now recovering from their food and music hangovers. Here, festival highlights, stats and insider observations:
 
• The Black Keys hit the Fried Chicken, Champagne and Fireworks party post-show to hang out with Dave Kornell of NYC’s Blue Ribbon. Kornell fried 2,800 pieces of chicken—every piece was eaten—while Buffalo Springfield played right behind him.
• At the party, 36 magnums of Joe Bastianich's Flor prosecco were consumed in about 30 minutes.
• Praters BBQ from Tennessee served 2,000 pounds of pork.
• The Food Truck Oasis had roughly 12,000 visitors a day.
• The Taco Bus from Tampa, Florida, went through 8,000 tacos.
• Eat Box from Asheville, North Carolina, went through 18,000 meatballs—the fan favorite was the Dirty South (meatloaf balls with pepper-crusted bacon, hash browns and bacon-scallion sauce).
• Good You from Kansas City, Missouri, went through 800 pounds of meat for their burgers made with "unicorn meat and Smurf dust."

Restaurants

Frankies Spuntino at the Belmont Stakes

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© Morgan Taylor
Frank Falcinelli & Frank Castronovo are ready to bet at the Belmont Stakes.

What a busy weekend! The Omnivore Food Festival! Midtown Lunch’s 5th birthday party! The Big Apple BBQ!  I just couldn’t make it to see the Frankies Spuntino team in action at the Belmont Stakes. Luckily F&W’s excellent intern Morgan Taylor was there and reports back.
 
As a Kentucky native and horse-racing enthusiast I've visited many racetracks around the country—but never for the food. That changed at this year's Belmont Stakes thanks to Frank Falcinelli and Frank Castronovo of Frankies Spuntino, who brought their Frankies Spuntino menu to Belmont Park for the second time.
 
The Franks, who grew up in Queens and worked in a deli around the corner from Belmont Park when they were kids, began frequenting the track when their boss would send them on gambling runs on their dirt bikes. When the chance to bring the Frankies' menu to Belmont arose, they saw it as an opportunity to contribute to their old neighborhood and to amp up the racetrack’s culinary credibility.
 
Their menu featured dishes from the Frankies Spuntino Kitchen Companion & Cooking Manual: buttermilk fried chicken, grilled calamari & shrimp salad. Everything was delicious and their fried chicken passed the test of several Kentuckians—not to mention that I saw my dad wolf down three pieces of their olive oil cake. Unfortunately, neither of the Franks picked the big race's winner, longshot Ruler on Ice, who paid $51.50 on a $2 to win wager. Maybe next year.

Beer

What Will Eminem Be Eating at Bonnaroo?

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New this year at Bonnaroo: The Food Truck Oasis.

© Sean Hunter
New this year at Bonnaroo: The Food Truck Oasis.

 
I’ve just spent the past few weeks interviewing the food-obsessed Superfly Presents team for the August issue of Food & Wine. Superfly is responsible for producing some of the country’s coolest music festivals, including Bonnaroo, which kicks off tomorrow on a 700-acre farm in Manchester, Tennessee. To celebrate the festival’s 10th anniversary, the Superfly team has gone overboard lining up not only stellar music but also amazing beer and food. Here, some highlights:

*Food Truck Oasis:This new food zone is the parking spot for a dozen food trucks from around the country. Don’t miss the Dirty South-Meatloaf Balls with pepper-crusted bacon, hash browns and bacon-scallion sauce from Asheville, North Carolina’s Eat Box; short rib sliders from Miami’s gastroPod; and tacos and burritos from Tampa, Florida’s famous Taco Bus.

*Broo’ers Festival: I can’t think of anything better than a beer festival within a music festival. More than 20 American craft breweries—including Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project and Abita—will be here.

*Fried Chicken & Champagne: On Saturday, June 11, rock stars like Eminem and Arcade Fire will be backstage at a private party, drinking champagne paired with fried chicken from NYC’s Blue Ribbon.

*Crawfish Boil:
Superfly thanks the Bonnaroo staff by throwing a karaoke and crawfish boil party on Monday, June 13. New Orleans–based Shaggy’s Boil Inc. will be hosting.

*Food Drive: Last year’s food drive brought in more than 7,000 pounds of food donations, which went to the Good Samaritan Food Pantry of Manchester, Tennessee. This year, Bonnaroo hopes to get 10,000 pounds.

Restaurants

Inside Omnivore World Tour with Giovanni Passerini

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In case you missed it, last year’s Omnivore food festival featured René Redzepi (yes, the "best chef in the world"). This year’s festival theme is Young Cuisine, featuring break-out stars like of Rino in Paris, whose restaurant combines Italian peasant cooking (cucina povera is the in-vogue term) with techniques he learned at Paris’s Le Chateaubriand. Passerini is preparing dinner on June 10th with Carlo Mirarchi of Roberta’s in Brooklyn (an F&W Best New Chef 2011). Tickets are available here.

What’s Passerini making for dinner? What will he eat when he’s here? Let’s find out the answers.

Q: What are you making for dinner?

A: Frankly, I still have to decide. I'm sure I'll prepare some ravioli; it's our speciality at Rino. But I still have to decide the kind, the shape.

Q: Let’s talk about cooking with Carlo Mirachi.
A: I'm really curious to meet him. I like everything I’ve seen made by him. I think the spirit of Roberta’s is similar to Rino, though it's just a feeling, because I've never been. But that's enough to make me really excited to cook with Carlo.

Q: Are you excited to try American-Italian food (since you’re Italian)?
A: Of course, I'm so excited to taste my first spaghetti with meatballs! And a good pizza! Probably it's easier to find a good one in NYC than in Rome. And after all, one of my favorite movies is Big Night by Stanley Tucci, about two Italian brothers cooking in the US. So funny!

Q: If you could open another restaurant, what would it be?

A: I really dream about a gazebo in the middle of a crowded street selling Italian street food at a very cheap price: arancini, focaccia stuffed with mortadella, tripe and ricotta sandwiches, fried cod and artisanal Italian beer!

Restaurants

How to Get Free Tickets to Omnivore Master Classes

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First, the bad news about the supercool French food festival Omnivore, which brings its Young Cuisine world tour to New York City on June 9th: The master class series on Friday, June 10th—highlighting New York City’s Carlo Mirarchi (an F&W Best New Chef 2011, hurray!) and John Fraser (What Happens When); Paris's Giovanni Passerini (Rino) and Jean-François Piège (Thoumieux); and Copenhagen's Mads Refslunch (MR)—is for food professionals only. Now the good news: I hear that Omnivore is giving away a few, just a few, Master Class tickets: write to reservation@omnivore.fr and use the code 'young cuisine.'

And, more Omnivore good news: you can actually taste food from these incredible chefs at Omnivore’s The F**** Dinners, at What Happens When, from June 9-11, by going here.

Events

New Classes for Pasta-Cravers

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Sage mafalda pasta at Il Corvo.

© Mike Easton
Sage mafalda pasta at Il Corvo.


There’s a good reason why we’re not all eating fresh pasta every night: Making it (or making it well, anyway) is not as easy as the pros might lead you to believe. But Seattleites with pasta intimidation can now conquer their fears at Il Corvo, the brand-new pasta shop and lunch counter within Procopio Gelateria at Pike Place Market Hill Climb. Starting this weekend, chef Mike Easton will lead pasta-making dinners (make reservations here) the last Saturday of every month, teaching guests to roll out pastas like a delicately flavored sage mafalda (my favorite of the different pastas we sampled here at F&W's Test Kitchen). "The classes are hands-on," says Easton, who pairs wine with each dish to shake out kitchen inhibitions. “They're more like a dinner party where you’re going to get your hands dirty in the kitchen." And those who still feel shy with the pasta roller can pick up ready-made packs of his fresh pastas at Il Corvo, weekdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Beer

Exclusive Preview: Garrett Oliver’s 'Oxford Companion to Beer'

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© PIKE MICROBREWERY MUSEUM, SEATTLE, WA
Sneak peek inside: c. 1933, Prohibition caused a lack of public knowledge of how to serve alcoholic beverages, an issue addressed in this nationally syndicated photograph.

When American Craft Beer Week concludes on May 22, events will have taken place in every state for the first time in the celebration’s six-year history. No one understands the rise of local beer better than Garrett Oliver. The Brooklyn Brewery brewmaster and award-winning author of The Brewmaster’s Table (2005) is finishing up his latest feat as editor-in-chief of The Oxford Companion to Beer. Considering the honor attached to a first edition in the food reference series, it's funny to hear Oliver's take on the publisher's pitch three years ago. "I went quickly sprinting in the opposite direction. The project seemed so overwhelmingly huge, and obviously I already have a job over here as brewmaster," he remembers. With the encouragement of friends who knew he'd regret the lost opportunity, Oliver embarked on the work over a year ago with a preliminary list of 500 topics;1,120 references and 160 additional writers later, the tome will drop in October. Here, Oliver reveals some of the groundbreaking subjects that will be covered and what he thinks you should be drinking (and eating) now.

© PIKE MICROBREWERY MUSEUM, SEATTLE, WA
A closer look reveals various beer glass shapes.

What convinced you to sign on? There are a lot of subjects that we in the craft-brewing community might use every day that are literally not written down. So if you want to know about, say, dry-hopping—adding hops after fermentation for extra flavor and aroma, which is done by 80 to 95 percent of all the breweries in the United States—there is precisely nothing to read.

What other categories are you breaking ground in? Sour beers. Barrel aging:There's a huge movement all over the world now interested in deriving flavors from wooden barrels. You will read about Amarillo, a hop variety: where it comes from, how it developed, what its genetic parents are, how it grows in a field, and how people tend to use it. But then, right before that, you'd read [an entry called] Ale House, about the history of the ale house from Roman times to its development into the modern pub. So it really covers not only things scientific and technical, but also cultural and historic things.

What's the most surprising country making beer? Of course when we think of Italy, we think of wine. But Italy has 350 breweries, and Italian brewers are really excited, creative and using a lot of their background in food to inform what they do on the beer side. Scandinavia is also a big story. We might think of one or two beers, like Carlsberg, but there are many dozens of breweries in Denmark, Sweden, Norway, etc.

Do you cover foods to eat with beer? What's your favorite pairing? There are sections on food-and-beer pairing. I've done about 700 beer dinners in 12 countries, and I wrote a 360-page book on beer-and-food pairings. But this time of year, for example, I love saison, which is a Belgian-style wheat beer. [At Brooklyn Brewery] we have a new one coming out called Sorachi Ace, based on a particular hop variety of that name, and I think it's really great with grilled salmon and shrimp dishes—lighter dishes you might grill in summertime.

How much has beer culture evolved in the last decade? It's really pretty incredible. When I first started traveling, I would go overseas and say, "Oh, I'm an American brewer," and people would just be dripping with disdain: "Oh, yes, we have heard of your American beer." Because they were thinking about just the mass-market beer. We now have over 1,700 breweries in the United States, and we have the most vibrant beer culture in the world, bar none. What's amazing is that now, we go to Germany and Belgium and Italy and, to a large extent, brewers all over the world look up to the United States. Twenty years ago it was exactly the opposite.

Restaurants

Highlights, Chefs Cook for Japan

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© Dean Roman
Masaharu Morimoto in Action at Chefs Cook for Japan fundraiser.

Last night's supersonic "Chefs Cook for Japan" fundraising dinner in NYC raised an astonishing $100,000 for the Japan Society’s Earthquake Relief Fund. The dinner's highlight featured participating chefs—like Jonathan WaxmanMarcus Samuelsson and Paul Bartolotta—jumping on stage during the live auction. Spontaneous auction packages included Jose Garces and Masaharu Morimoto’s Iron Chef dinner (the two Iron Chefs will cook for a dinner party using a themed ingredient) and  Daniel Boulud and Morimoto creating a package that starts with sushi, sashimi and saki from Morimoto at DBGB followed by burgers, bangers and beer before going out to what will surely be a ridiculous night of karaoke with Boulud and Morimoto. Bonus highlight: Morimoto's karaoke preview of What a Wonderful World for the crowd.

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