PDT's Mapo Tofu-Topped Mission Chinese Dog; Photo © Nick Brown.
“Mapo tofu and I have quite a history,” says Mission Chinese Food’s Danny Bowien. “It’s the inspiration behind the whole MCF project.” I consider it the perfect dish; the only thing I’ve wished for is a supersonic cocktail to wash it down with. Lucky me: MCF in Manhattan now has a sparkling new liquor license and a team set on perfecting the most perfect version of Sex on the Beach.
Now there’s more great booze-and-tofu news: the exceptional bar PDT has just put the Mission Chinese Dog on their menu. It’s an all-beef hot dog covered with Bowien’s exhilarating, Szechuan peppercorn-packed tofu, plus onions, cilantro and American cheese sauce. The Mission Chinese Dog is spicy and messy and requires a knife and fork. And, of course, a cocktail. PDT’s Jim Meehan recommends the Alambic Fizz, a mix of Cognac, lemon juice, Landy's 5-Year-Old Bual Madeira and pimento bitters. It’s also got peach lambic. Peach schnapps is key to Sex on the Beach; I expect this drink is as close as I'll get to having the Spring Break staple at PDT.
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April Bloomfield Goes on Tour with Her New Book, A Girl and Her Pig.
I’m not sure if April Bloomfield learned a few things about touring from the rock stars who hang out at her awesome Manhattan restaurant The Spotted Pig (you know the names: Bono, Jay-Z, the Black Keys). So when Bloomfield goes on a book tour for her excellent new cookbook, A Girl and Her Pig, she does it right.
Starting in early July in Charleston, S.C., Bloomfield will team up with excellent chefs around the country cooking meals that show off dishes from the book. As it happens, many of them are chefs she met as a 2007 F&W Best New Chef (love that!). "I'm looking forward to cooking with my friends on their home turf,” says Bloomfield. “I'm sure we'll have fun…maybe too much, if a few pints are involved."
Below are some tour highlights. And in more news from Bloomfield, she’ll be chronicling the highlights on her just-launched website, aprilbloomfield.com. But how much better if you get to be there in person.
Charleston, SC: Saturday, July 7
Host chef: Sean Brock
Where: Heirloom Book Company, 123 King St.; 843-469-1717; heirloombookcompany.com
What: All you can eat lamb roast with Brock; sides by Bloomfield and all you can drink cocktails by the Gin Joint
Chicago: Sunday, July 15
Host chefs: Paul Virant, Paul Kahan and Bruce Sherman
Where: Perennial Virant, 1800 N. Lincoln Ave.; 312-981-7070; perennialchicago.com
What: Dinner prepared by Bloomfield, Kahan, Sherman and Paul Virant
Portland, OR: Wednesday, July 18
Host chef: Jenn Louis
Where: Lincoln, 3808 N. Williams Ave.; 503-288-6200; www.lincolnpdx.com
What: Dinner prepared by Bloomfield and Louis
Seattle: Friday, July 20
Host chef: Matt Dillon
Where: The Corson Building, 5609 Corson Ave.; 206-762-3330; www.thecorsonbuilding.com
What: Dinner prepared by Bloomfield and Dillon
San Francisco: Thursday, July 26
Host chef: Russell Moore
Where: Camino, 3917 Grand Ave., Oakland; 510-547-5035; www.caminorestaurant.com
What: Details coming soon!
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It's the NBA finals and the Big Three are dominating conversation. For the Miami Heat: LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh. For the Oklahoma City Thunder: Kevin Durant (hero), Russell Westbrook, and James Harden.
In New York City, I like to think that we have our own Big Three. Rich Torrisi and Mario Carbone, the geniuses behind Torrisi Italian Specialties and Parm (and Food & Wine Best New Chefs 2012, yippee!), have teamed up with Jim Meehan, who helms the outstanding cocktail bar PDT (and edits F&W Cocktails 2012). Introducing: the Parm Dog. (Well, that's not the actual name; the real name is being decided as we speak.) Here's Carbone on the delicious, messy hot dog, which features some of the great hits on the Parm Italian combo sandwich: "It's Genoa salami and pepperoni rolled up. The toasted bun gets a slick of our spicy [B&G hot sauce] and it's topped with a slice of provolone, shredded lettuce and sliced tomato. Finally it get our Italian salad dressing and sliced b&g hot peppers."
And here's Torrisi on creating a hot dog for PDT, an honor that has also gone to elite chefs Wylie Dufresne and David Chang: “We tried to doggify everything on the Parm menu,” says Torrisi. “We liked this best.”
The Parm Dog will be coming to PDT soon (let's hope for the end of June).
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Noma's Rene Redzepi is About to Host his 2nd Annual MAD Food Camp.
It's food festival time!! Well, it's always food festival time these days; but some big hitters are coming up, so take note. Next week it's the 30th Anniversary of Food & Wine Classic in Aspen. And just a few weeks later, over in Copenhagen, comes MAD2 from René Redzepi of Noma; it's his second now-annual MAD Food Symposium, aka Food Camp. Plate online said it really well: Redzepi can do pretty much anything he wants these days. He can appear on the cover of Time magazine, he can tweet out moose head photos as potential dinner ingredients. And he can host the MAD Symposium and have it quickly becomes the gold standard of chefs conferences.
If you missed the first MAD Food Camp—and you're in the food world—take note of the festival, taking place July 1 - 2. Some of the A-list chefs who have already RSVP’d yes for MAD2: Ferran Adrià, St. John’s Fergus Henderson, Mission Street Chinese’s Danny Bowein, WD50’s Wylie Dufresne, Pujol’s Enrique Olvera. Here’s what René has to say: “There will be a great collection of people; it's going to be an exciting couple of days. We already have a few new surprises in store for those coming!” Here’s what Momofuku's Dave Chang, who may or may not somehow make an appearance has to say: “At Mad festival you don’t know what’s going to happen. Last year, there was a family meal. René had Michel Bras making vegetables, Magnus Nilsson cooking oysters, Ben Shewry preparing an egg dish. And the food critics were the sous chefs. It was an extraordinary spread.”
For more details, go to: www.madfood.co
Date: July 1 – 2, 2012
Location: Refshaleøen, Copenhagen
Ticket price: Approximately $350 (includes entry on two days plus breakfast, lunch and drinks on both)
How to purchase the few tickets that are left: contact Ali Kurshat Altinsoy at firstname.lastname@example.org
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First of all, a round of applause for Christina Tosi, the Momofuku Milk Bar star and brand-new, James Beard Award–winning Rising Star.
Tosi is, of course, best known for getting New York City addicted to buttery Crack Pie (even my trainer can’t stay away from it). But next Wednesday, May 16, Tosi will be up to her pastry counter in vegetables. That night, the Vegetables at Dovetail dinner kicks off the fun-filled New Taste of the Upper West Side festival; the festival is co-hosted by F&W hero, Andrew Zimmern. The five-course vegetarian dinner will be prepared by some of the city’s great chefs: Dovetail’s John Fraser, Ed Brown, F&W Best New Chef Missy Robbins, Top Chef winner Harold Dieterle and, of course, Tosi.
If you want to confirm the high vegetable quotient of the dinner, here’s a sneak peak at the menu:
*Avocado salad with ramps, watercress and eggplant (Fraser)
*Quinoa-crusted white and shaved asparagus with morels and egg yolk emulsion (Brown)
*Barley risotto, nettles and formaggio fresco (Robbins)
*Raviolo with spring vegetable "pockets" and spring truffles (Dietrle)
*Coach Farm triple cream cheese with truffles and grapes (Fraser)
*Tristar sorbet, celery root ganache and lovage (Tosi)
Besides seeing all those terrific chefs in action, there’s this: Proceeds from the evening go to New York Sun Works, a program that improves students' understanding of environmental science in urban schools. Fraser is super involved with this great program, which brings greenhouse science labs to the schools and teaches students how to grow hydroponic vegetables.
Tickets are $195; they’re available at New Taste of the Upper West Side.
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Per-Anders Jorgensen courtesy of Phaidon Press
It’s been an action-packed restaurant award season. Earlier this week, the James Beard Foundation lavished awards on restaurants like Manhattan’s Gramercy Tavern and bars like PDT in New York City (yay for PDT's Jim Meehan!). Last week, the World’s 50 Best Restaurants handed out honors. Number 1 was Noma in Copenhagen (yay for chef René Redzepi!), followed by El Celler de Can Roca, Girona, Spain at Number 2.
The world’s Number 3 best restaurant is the astonishing Mugaritz in San Sebastián, Spain where chef Andoni Luis Aduriz promotes naturalism in cooking. (He’s famous for serving potatoes that look exactly like rocks on a beach.) Everyone should go there immediately to sample his food. For those who can’t get a flight/reservation to Mugaritz right this moment, here’s fantastic news.
First is Andoni’s gorgeous upcoming book, Mugaritz. It’s especially helpful for scientifically minded cooks who want to make a dish called Crunchy Milk Sheets with Sweet Beans, Ice Cream of Citrus Peel and Orange Blossom Water. But it’s also mesmerizing armchair reading, not just for the photos, but also for the way he documents concepts like the evolution of a food idea.
Second is the new movie, Mugaritz B.S.O., which is being screened Thursday night, May 10, in Manhattan at Lincoln Center, before it goes to Toronto on Friday. For three years, musician Felipe Ugarte studied Aduriz’s cooking – now Ugarte has put the preparation of dishes, from start to finish, to music. Some of the dishes in the film are straight from the book. For instance, for "Piece of Veal, roasted and perfumed with vine cutting embers" (pages 113-114 in the book, if you’re checking), Ugarte mimics the texture of the charred veal by layering the sounds of the fire with back up vocals from a young choir. Here's the added benefit: Aduriz himself will be at the Manhattan screening and for a Q&A. And here's the super-plus benefit: At the screening, you can also buy that gorgeous book weeks before its actual release date, and get him to sign it for you.
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