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Mouthing Off

By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine

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Expert Guide

Where to Eat in St. Louis

Chef Gerard Craft

Chef Gerard Craft. Photo courtesy of Greg Rannells Photography.

As the World Series heats up between the Red Sox and the Cardinals, baseball fans can drink and eat their nerves away at some fantastic local restaurants. Empire builder Barbara Lynch has shared her favorite spots in Boston. Here, chef Gerard Craft —whose restaurantPastaria often hosts Cardinals players—divulges his hit list for the St. Louis area. Read more >

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Expert Guide

5 Questions All People Need to Ask Their Hamburgers

Holeman & Finch's Cheeseburger

As a hamburger authority, I am often called on to make top 10 lists, judge hamburger contests and otherwise make value judgments about the things. No one wants to hear “each one is different” when asking what the best burgers are; people want a straight answer, and I always give it. But that’s because I know what I am looking for in a hamburger. Do you? Read more >

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Expert Guide

11 Ways to Use Canned Coconut Milk

Coconut Chicken with Pickled Pepper Collards

The coconut water boom has ushered in something of a coconut milk renaissance. With its delicate tropical flavor and luscious texture, coconut milk remains an enduringly popular dairy alternative and a go-to pantry item for home cooks who love curry. Here, more ways to put the can in the cabinet to work. Read more >

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Expert Guide

10 Ways to Use Kale

Squash-and-Kale Toasts

Whatever your opinion of the kale-gone-wild movement to infuse everything with kale, there is a reason to eat more of it. Kale is one of the healthiest vegetables on the planet. Here are 10 go-to ways to use this incredible superfood. Read more >

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Expert Guide

Mario Batali on Essential Pasta Dishes to Master

Spaghetti al Pomodoro

How can you judge a pasta master? After an Eataly seminar during the Italian cooking conference Identità New York, F&W chatted with Mario Batali, chef Cesare Battisti of Milan's Ratanà restaurant and pasta producer Riccardo Felicetti (of Monograno Felicetti) about their personal tests. Here, they reveal the dishes that show true artistry best. MORE >>

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Expert Guide

5 Great Pieces of Cooking Advice From Movie (and TV) Criminals

Cooking Advice from Criminals: The Sopranos

Education is where you find it, and as an indolent nerd growing up, I learned a lot from gangster movies. I found out about safe houses, and how to get rid of your victims, and exactly how RICO predicates work. But along the way I also learned some very useful cooking tips. Here, the five best. Read more >

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Expert List

The Ultimate Guide to Steak Houses

Having been battered by Eatocracy commenters who found my previous listicle the Seven Sins of Steak Houses “too negative,” I thought I might correct that with a sequel: things to look for in a great steak house. I agree that you can’t just complain and walk away, unless, like me, your dream is to live on an Icelandic sheep pasture. We all love steak houses, and we all want to have great experiences there, and we are even willing to pay for them. But how do you know where to go? Here are some pointers. (I’m assuming your primary desire in a steak house is to get great steak. If you are after romantic atmosphere or Dover sole, you are reading the wrong man.) Read more >>

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Expert Guide

5 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Mooncakes

If you’ve never heard of mooncakes, the baked pastry that is typically given as a gift during the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival, now is the perfect time to seek them out. The festival falls on the 15th day of the eighth month, which, according to our handy Chinese lunar calendar, is today! So laugh it up like chef Yip Wing Wah (left). Chef Yip is The Peninsula Hotels' dim sum ambassador and he recently showed us how to make the sugary calorie bombs on his first US mooncake tour. Here, bizarre mooncake trivia to prepare for celebrations this week.

 

1. A 4-inch mooncake has roughly 1,000 calories; a Big Mac contains 550.
2. You can buy mooncakes for puppies in Hong Kong.
3. Häagen-Dazs makes an ice cream mooncake.
4. Luxury mooncakes encrusted in gold and stuffed with shark fin have been used to bribe corrupt officials
5. Chef Yip makes 400,000 mooncakes each festival and sells out in one day.

Related Links: Delicious Chinese Recipes
Healthy Asian Recipes
Better Than Takeout

F&W Rant

The Truth About Riesling

Wine expert Paul Grieco.

To borrow from Stephen Colbert, there is a "truthiness" about Riesling that unfortunately overshadows the truth. The truthiness is that Riesling is inherently sweet. The truth is that most Rieslings are so dry that the Garden of Eden would lose all its foliage if watered with a magnum. So let's start another conversation about Riesling, focusing on four things: balance, delicacy, complexity and sense of place.

We sometimes think of balance as one-dimensional. In fact, balance in wine requires a multiplicity of things—acids, sugars, pH levels, alcohol, magic dust—all in perfect alignment. And the cool thing about Riesling is that when one of these factors moves across the spectrum, the others shift to maintain equilibrium. There is no precise formula to measure balance; we just know it when we feel it. And what we feel with a glass of Riesling in our hand is what tightrope walker Philippe Petit feels every day at work.

Delicacy does not mean fragility or excessive sensitivity. Ultimately, the delicacy we yearn for in wine is a physiological rallying cry leading from one sip to a second. The palate should be so intrigued by what the wine has done to the taste buds that it cannot resist the opportunity to experience it again. With Riesling, one taste begs for another.

Complexity Put on your seat belt, because the journey through the various aromas and flavors of Riesling is a thrill ride that even Six Flags could not map out. Around every bend are citrus fruits, stone fruits, fruits that haven't even been named yet, coupled with floral overtones and buttressed by minerality that's like a quarry of boulders.

A grape's ability to express the land in which it's grown is one of the world's great mysteries (slightly below our fascination with Kim Kardashian). We recognize the existence of terroir when we line up five glasses of Riesling, from different places, and recognize the differences between them. That is Mother Earth screaming at us in liquid form!

Ultimately, the measure of truthfulness in Riesling is the happiness it creates. Your brain reels after every sip; your toes tingle so much you cannot put your socks on. As Ben Franklin famously said, wine is constant proof that God loves us. And with Riesling, we know God loves us absolutely.

Paul Grieco is co-owner of Hearth restaurant and Terroir wine bars in NYC.

Related: More from F&W's October Wine Issue
Riesling Wine Pairings
Guide to Perfect Wine Pairings

Expert Guide

Five Great Wine Values $12 & Under

Five Great Wine Values $12 & Under

Here, F&W's executive wine editor suggests five top picks for $12 or less.

2012 Vega Sindoa Tempranillo ($9)
A tiny cooperative of eight Navarran families grows the grapes for this bright, crisp Spanish red.

2010 Vale do Bomfim Douro Red ($11)
This blend of native Portuguese grapes from the Douro Valley is surprisingly complex.

2012 Dry Creek Vineyard Dry Chenin Blanc ($12)
A perennial value, Dry Creek's Chenin Blanc offers layers of citrus-melon flavor.

2010 Il Molino di Grace Il Volano ($12)
A fresh, herby Tuscan red, it's a blend of Sangiovese with 2percent Merlot.

2011 Novellum Chardonnay ($12)
This fragrant Chardonnay is made with hand-harvested grapes from France's Côtes Catalanes region.

Related: Where to Buy Wine Online
In Search of Good Cheap Wine
America's Best and Most Accessible Value Wines

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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.

Already looking forward to next year (June 19-21, 2015)? Relive your favorite moments from the culinary world's most sensational weekend in the Rocky Mountains.