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Mouthing Off

By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine

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Restaurants

SOBE Burger Bash: The Aftermath

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© South Beach Wine & Food Festival.
Marc Murphy and his winning Big Marc burgers

Judging the South Beach Wine & Food Festival Burger Bash isn’t easy. You have to taste a million burgers (or in this case, about 25), you have to choose among a lot of great options and you have to be prepared to have a serious stomachache afterwards. What almost never happens is that the winning burger is the last one you taste (you’re already way past burger overload). But at this year's Bash that’s exactly what happened to me and my fellow judges—including Art Smith and Alex Guarnaschelli—with Marc Murphy’s “Big Marc.”  His juicy, gorgeously charred burger was made with beef from Allen Brothers, topped with bread & butter pickles and spiked ketchup and served on a grilled house-made cheddar-and-black-pepper bun. Alongside, he served killer jalapeño-cheddar tater tots. “Never made the burger before,” says Murphy. “I was concerned with feeding 3,000 people and thought that by adding the cheese to the bun, I'd eliminate a step and feed everyone more quickly.”

Here’s good news for everyone who wants to taste the Big Marc. Murphy got so many requests for the burger after his win that he’s added it and the tater tots to the menu at his Landmarc and Ditch Plains restaurants. Yes, that includes the Ditch Plains that's opening on Manhattan’s Upper West Side tonight. It's a great opportunity to judge the Big Marc for yourself.

Restaurants

The People’s Best New Chef: Best Buttons

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The Vote for Tim Byres T-shirt.

The voting continues fast and furious for F&W's People’s Best New Chef. And the chefs' campaigning efforts have been outstanding. Take chef Tim Byres at Smoke in Dallas, who had T-shirts made for his giant "Vote for Tim Byres" party the other night.

I'm especially loving my new button collection: In Peoria, Illinois, chef Josh Adams of June gives out huge buttons with each check, while Stephanie Izard at Girl and the Goat in Chicago has a very succinct message on her buttons: "Goat the Vote."
 
So if you haven’t voted yet: Vote! You only have until March 1st. And then we’ll all learn the name of The People’s Best New Chef on March 2nd.

Restaurants

Truffled Scrambled Eggs at 40,000 Feet

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© Jordan Salcito
Daniel Boulud and Michel Troisgros Make Truffled Eggs at Altitude.

If you ever wonder how famous chefs deal with the limitations of airplane food, especially when they're recovering from an epic wine event, here's a firsthand account from my awesome wine-genius friend Jordan Salcito (whom you’ll read more about in F&W's April feature on Burgundy). Here’s Jordan:

Say you're a chef who has just cooked for the 10th anniversary of La Paulée de New York which honors the best domaines in Burgundy with both new and very old vintages (like 1940 La Tâche). And say you’re in a private plane on your way to La Paulée des Neiges in Aspen to (ski and) drink more wines. How do you re-energize? If you're Daniel Boulud, the featured chef for La Paulée de New York, and you're France's inimitable Michel Troisgros, you make 30-second scrambled eggs in the plane's microwave: custardy, truffled scrambled eggs with crème fraîche, plus toast with European butter and more black truffle. And then open another bottle of La Tâche.

Events

Yoga and Chocolate for Valentine's Day

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Rachel Welch's baked goodies.

© Rachel Welch
Rachel Welch's baked goodies.

 

Hooray! Yoga and food, two of the joys of my life, have finally met. In the forthcoming March issue, we report on how many yoga teachers are incorporating chocolate and wine into their classes, exploring the mind/body connection and finding deeper ways to tap into our senses. Two Valentine’s Day weekend yoga workshops in New York City are bringing sweet treats into the studio. (Full disclosure: I practice yoga with both of these teachers and work at Laughing Lotus.) On Saturday at the new Yogamaya studio, Rachel Welch, an incredible baker when not pretzel-twisted on the mat, will offer a restorative shiatsu massage workshop for couples or friends. The Japanese healing art opens the body’s energy channels. Afterwards, participants will be more receptive to the flavors in Welch’s expertly baked chocolate cupcakes. On Sunday, those looking for a physical and spiritual workout can check out Dana Flynn’s Cacao Flow workshop at Laughing Lotus Yoga Center. Raw vegan truffles are incorporated into the flow sequence. For example, yogis eat a spicy cayenne truffle before they perform an invigorating sun salutation sequence, and the class will wind down with a raspberry-lavender truffle before Savasana, the final resting pose. Mind, meet body. I think you’ll like each other.

Chefs

Tim Love Tackles the Super Bowl

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tim love

© Tim Love
Tailgate extraordinaire, Tim Love.


Yesterday chef Tim Love gave me a call from an unusually frigid Arlington, Texas, where he was scrambling to prepare to feed the hordes of football fans descending on the city for Super Bowl XLV.  “I feel like I’m on American Race, racing against time to get my prep done,” he said. “I’m scraping and scrounging to find heaters.” On Wednesday, he cooked ESPN’s Mike & Mike an “all out meatfest” of elk saddle, rabbit-rattlesnake sausage and quail. Tonight, Love is teaming up with rockstar chef Mario Batali for a Spaghetti Western fundraiser dinner before hosting a pre-game tailgate for nearly 350 people on game-day. “I’ve wrangled two giant 30-foot smokers to do grilled potatoes with bad-ass toppings, grilled artichokes, and Tomahawk chops.” Love will be watching the big game from the stands and putting his money on the Pittsburgh Steelers. Rumor has it that Love and Batali may even make an appearance on field to introduce the Black Eyed Peas at half time.

Restaurants

Dallas's Super Bowl Party Circuit

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My go-to-guy for all things happening in Dallas, Christopher Wynn, a staff writer for The Dallas Morning News and dining editor for its style monthly, FD Luxe, gave me an update on the city’s pre-Super Bowl festivities. Here’s the scoop:

The roads may be glazed and cooking is cautious after a day of rolling blackouts, but Dallas chefs are determined to feed the fans.
 
Last night I hit our Uptown neighborhood for a preview of chef Abraham Salum’s coming-soon contemporary Mexican cuisine spot, Komali. (Just wrap me in steaming handmade tortillas on the way out.) At the same time near downtown, former Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek chef John Tesar cooked at the new Cedars Social cocktail den and restaurant for his weeklong “Supper Bowl.” The chef-driven series of charity dinners culminated with former Top Chef contestant Tiffany Derry in the kitchen. 


Tonight, celeb-u-chefs Mario Batali and Tim Love are hosting their Italian-meets-Texan Spaghetti Western dinner. Emeril Lagasse and Guy Fieri are among the co-chairs. Tickets to this fundraising event at Love’s Fort Worth Love Shack So7 are $500 each, more details here.
 
Finally, Texas is expected to thaw out just in time for Saturday’s sold-out Taste of the NFL extravaganza in Fort Worth. Dallas’ Kent Rathbun of Abacus restaurant fame is the host chef. The event is celebrating its 20th anniversary and many of the inaugural chefs from the first Taste in Minneapolis will be on hand, including Tom Colicchio, Todd English, Susan Spicer and Dallas’s Stephan Pyles.
 
Here’s a Super Bowl idea for next year: Open a hot toddy stand. 

Events

Edible Conversations at NYC's Roger Smith Hotel

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On Tuesday night I attended the first event in the new Edible Conversations series at New York City’s Roger Smith Hotel, which features authors like Molly O'Neill and food historians like Andrew F. Smith discussing their areas of expertise. I was excited to hear Colleen Taylor Sen speak on the origins of curry, a British colonial creation now prepared in different incarnations the world over. The hotel chef served a curry tasting menu including Norwegian curried herring, an Indian lamb dish similar to a korma, and Japanese pork tonkatsu. Between courses, Sen spoke casually and encouraged the audience to ask questions. No surprise: Speculations on curry’s aphrodisiac properties stimulated the most discussion. Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, after all.

Future programs include New York Times columnist Amanda Hesser discussing The Essential New York Times Cookbook, author Kevin R. Kosar exploring the many different types of whiskey, and Laura Weiss discussing ice cream’s global appeal. Recipes for each dish and tickets for upcoming events will soon be available on the hotel’s blog, where future discussions will also be simulcast.

Restaurants

F&W Exclusive: Menu Highlights at Animal's Son of a Gun

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© kate krader
Hugh Hefner with a Prize Marlin Decorates Son of a Gun's Bathroom.

Let's go over some frequently asked questions about the upcoming Son of a Gun restaurant from the epic chef team Vinny Dotolo and Jon Shook (with Animal chef Frank Anderson running day to day operations).

What's going to be on the menu?
For a start, the boys are thinking:

Sardines a la plancha with oyster plant, citron, sorrel
Santa Barbara prawns with plum mustard butter, radish
Baked clams "mafia style"
Geoduck, cilantro salsa verde, mandarin
Uni, carrot,  nettle curry vinaigrette, apple
Bottarga taramasalata
Fried chicken inspired by Chick-fil-A and Bakesale Betty
Pimento cheese fries

What's up with the name Son of a Gun?
Says Dotolo:  "On boats, the space between the guns was used as a semi-private place for trysts with prostitutes and wives, which sometimes led to the birth of children with disputed parentage. Another claim is that the origin the term resulted from firing a ship's guns to hasten a difficult birth."

What's the seating situation?
Both reservation and walk ins for the big communal table. Wait until you see the banquette tucked right into the window.

Cocktails

Sundance’s Star-Studded Silver Restaurant

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© Mitch Allen
Ellen, Demi and Kate at Park City's new Silver restaurant.

The Sundance Film Festival is already half over, and I missed my chance to see my heroes Michael Voltaggio and the Kogi team keeping everyone well fed during the premieres. But that doesn’t mean I don’t still want to be in Park City, or that I’ve given up on my dream of being the local restaurant critic. That’s because of all I've been hearing about the town’s newest restaurant, Silver, designed by none other than David Rockwell. The crowd at Silver this week has been remarkable: James Franco and Paul Rudd ate there over the weekend; Demi Moore, Kate Bosworth and Ellen Barkin were there the other night for a Belvedere party for their new movie Another Happy Day. If I could possibly get there on Friday night, apparently I'd see Al Pacino and Katie Holmes at some gala, end-of-festival dinner.

But I wouldn’t just go to be a crazy celebrity stalker. The drinks list has a contribution by Lindsay Nader, who happens to be the phenomenal deputy editor of F&W’s Cocktails 2011 (coming in April); she created the Silver Fox, a mix of tequila and Aperol in an absinthe-rinsed glass. Then there's the menu. I understand Demi had pan-roasted salmon and every single side dish, including mac and cheese and roasted brussels sprouts with pancetta and crispy sage. And chocolate cake (yay, Demi!). Personally, I'm going to have the local trout with ponzu brown butter when I finally get there.

Chefs

Mario’s Pre-Super Bowl Charity Party

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Mario's Famous Friends Might Well Show Up at His Super Bowl Party.

“The Jets will make it to Texas,” predicts superchef Mario Batali. “Not to cook but to play!!!”

Mario also plans to be in Texas for Super Bowl XLV. Not just to watch the Jets (fingers crossed) but to cook. Specifically, to cook for what sounds like the best pre-Super Bowl party in history, in support of both the Mario Batali Foundation and The Moyer Foundation, both of which benefit children in need. Here are details.

WHO: Batali and Texas star chef Tim Love with co-chairs Emeril Lagasse and Guy Fieri. Plus Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Jamie Moyer and Texas Rangers pitcher Tommy Hunter.
Says Mario, “It’s gonna be an all-out football hang with Emeril, Guy, Jamie Moyer and Tommy Hunter, eating, drinking and making Tex-Italian snacks with Tim Love.”

WHO ELSE: Alt-country stars Her & Kings County will perform!

WHAT: The ultimate Spaghetti Western with Batali cooking Italian and Love cooking urban Western, plus cocktails, silent and live auctions and maybe a few surprises.
Says Mario, “There will be a cage-match cooking demo with all of us involved: Some of us have greater capabilities than others.”

WHERE: Love’s famous Love Shack So7, Ft. Worth, Texas

WHEN: Friday, February 4, 2011, 5 p.m.

HOW: Tickets for the limited-space event are $500 per person. To RSVP and for more information, go to www.moyerfoundation.org/events or call 206-298-1217.

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