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Mouthing Off

By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine

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Restaurants

How to Celebrate a World's Best Restaurant Win

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© Ditte Isager
World's #1 chef Rene Redzepi.

How exciting to be in London for the big announcement of S. Pellegrino’s World’s 50 Best Restaurants. And hear that Rene Redzepi’s Copenhagen restaurant, Noma, was once again #1. And that Manhattan’s Eleven Madison Park was one of the biggest climbers, up 26 places to #24—hurray for chef Daniel Humm & team!
 
But I wasn’t in London to hear the announcement and see those crazy celebrating chefs. Instead I relied on my friend Terry Zarikian, the creative director of NYC’s Bar Basque, to tell me the highlights. Here’s what he reports:
 
Yes, for the second year in a row, Noma took first place. For me, what’s truly exciting is the brand-new #2: the splendid El Celler de Can Roca in Girona, Spain (I predict it will be #1 next year). And a new #3, also from Spain: Mugaritz in San Sebastian (Andoni Luis Aduriz deserves it after all he did to reopen after their huge fire). Another San Sebastian restaurant, Arzak, came in at #8, making SS the only city with two restaurants in the top 10. Of course I’m proud; I’ve been promoting Basque chefs for years.
 
Arzak’s owner, Juan Mari Arzak, also received this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award for being the father of modern Basque cooking (his daughter, chef Elena Arzak, presented the award to him). How did he celebrate? With plenty of gin martinis at London's Sanderson hotel, followed by fish and chips (what else would the world’s best chefs eat in London?).

Recipes

A Cookbook from Italy’s Most Dreamy Resort

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apple tart

© Jen Murphy
Apple tart at Castello di Vicarello

Earlier in the year I had a chance to spend a weekend cooking with the amazing Aurora Baccheschi Berti at her dreamy 12th-century castle-turned-hotel, Castello di Vicarello, in Maremma, Tuscany. Staying at Vicarello is like staying at fabulous friend’s home with nonstop food, wine and adventure (Aurora’s husband, Carlo, takes groups wild-boar hunting at his nearby lodge, Valle di Buriano. Aurora and Carlo spent years in the textile business and have quite an eye for design. The seven rooms and villas of Vicarello are outfitted with unique antiques, old issues of Art Forum, oversize bathtubs and quirky touches like a zebra-skin rug. But it’s the kitchen that’s truly the heart of the house, and that’s where guests gravitate. Carlo and Aurora, and often their three charming sons, are the perfect hosts, offering up glasses of Brunello and slices of wild-boar prosciutto. Aurora hosts impromptu cooking lessons, and dinners are a two-hour-plus affair. I got a taste of the Tuscan winter on my visit, but Aurora’s just-released cookbook, Tuscany My Way, gives me a chance to recreate recipes from all four seasons at Vicarello. Inspired by the castle’s gardens, the book has more than 100 recipes organized by season, like carbonara withfava beans and apple tart. It’s one of the most transporting cookbooks I’ve seen and the next best thing to a trip back to Tuscany.
 

Restaurants

Florida: America's Next Regional Barbecue?

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© Courtesy TrésKoi PR

Orlando cuisine in my experience has been chain restaurants and fast-food spots, peppered with theme-park snacks. But John Rivers (left) has opened up something entirely different in nearby Winter Park: a barbecue joint. The Floridian married a Texan and became infatuated with brisket; he began smoking his own about 20 years ago and later started selling it at fundraisers to help victims of childhood cancer. The brisket drew such huge crowds that in the fall of 2009, Rivers opened up a brick-and-mortar spot: 4 Rivers Smokehouse. The lines start early and don't let up during the day, so Rivers just opened a second location across town in Winter Garden to keep up with demand and will likely open more in the future. Those not in Florida can now buy his sauce and rubs online, too.

Restaurants

Houston’s Best New Market

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houston

© Jen Murphy
Houston's new locavore market, Revival.

 

I made my first-ever trip to Houston last weekend to watch the Final Four. The final match-up between U Conn and Butler turned out to be one of the most disappointing performances in college basketball history, but my trip still turned out to be stellar, thanks to some seriously awesome eating and music experiences (more on that tomorrow). One of my best finds of the weekend was the new Revival Market in the Heights neighborhood. Opened at the end of March, Revival was originally planned as a butcher shop but ended up being so much more. In addition to an in-house butcher and the city’s first retail dry-cure room for charcuterie, there’s a coffee bar, manned by baristas making perfect lattes with beans from local roasters like Katz, Amaya and Fusion. The grocery section is like a mini farmers' market, selling local eggs, produce, artisanal bread, cheeses sourced by Houston Dairymaids, honey from the Heights and milled grains from outside Waco, Texas. Then there’s the deli where chef-owner Ryan Pera has created a menu of delicious sides (Asian duck slaw) and sandwiches (a turkey club garnished with chicken skins) to-go, or to stay and eat at one of the few tables. Sandwich to try: Revival Dog, a Mangalitsa hot dog served on a pretzel bun and topped with green tomato relish.

Cocktails

Best New Chefs 2011 Party: The Recap

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© Sylvain Gaboury/FOOD & WINE
F&W's 2011 Best New Chefs with F&W's Dana Cowin and Chris Grdovic

We now have our official Best New Chefs, Class of 2011! Glasses up for Bowman Brown & Viet Pham (Forage, Salt Lake City); Jason Franey (Canlis, Seattle); Bryce Gilmore (Barley Swine, Austin); Stephanie Izard (Girl & the Goat, Chicago); James Lewis (Bettola, Birmingham, AL); George Mendes (Aldea, New York City); Carlo Mirarchi (Roberta’s, New York City): Joshua Skenes (Saison, San Francisco); Kevin Willmann (Farmhaus, St. Louis); and Ricardo Zarate (Mo-Chica, Los Angeles).

We had a little party at Bohemian National Hall to celebrate those chefs last night, with superstars like former Best New Chefs Wylie Dufresne, Andrew Carmellini and Laurent Gras and non–BNC stars like Aziz Ansari, Kyle MacLachlan and Andrew Zimmern in attendance. More former Best New Chefs, like Jonathan Benno and Rocco DiSpirito, cooked for the party while opera singers rapped for entertainment and later Geoffrey Zakarian's new place the National poured Moscow Mules for the after-party.

© kate krader
F&W Best New Chefs practice for the Irish Car Bomb drinking contest.

We’ve learned a lot about our Best New Chefs in the last few days. Here are some little-known facts about several of them. We won’t name names, but you’ll find answers to most (but definitely not all) of these who-did-what stories in our July Best New Chef issue.

*Which BNC almost drowned off an Australian beach, and had only one thought in his/her head: "I can’t believe the last thing I’ll have eaten is a mediocre falafel sandwich."

*Which BNC could start a side business designing fishing rods?

*Which BNC had an eye-opening culinary moment in “France” at Florida’s Epcot Center?

*Which BNC got his/her start at Benihana?

*Which BNC also worked as a home loan officer for Washington Mutual?

*Which BNC thought it would be a good idea to take the BNC after after-party to New York Dolls (a Manhattan strip club)?

*Which BNC blew away the competition in an Irish Car Bomb (beer with a shot in it) drinking contest at the after-after-party at Fitzpatricks? (For the record, I came in 9th out of 9. And found out later that the winner had a history of winning Club Med chugging contests.)

News

Food & Whine on The Fabulous Beekman Boys

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© Planet Green
Josh Kilmer-Purcell and Brent Ridge are The Beekman Boys.

 If you ever wanted a behind-the-scenes look at a Food & Wine photo shoot, here's your chance. Last summer, in the midst of a barn raising, Brent Ridge and Josh Kilmer-Purcell of the "Fabulous Beekman Boys" reality show hosted a small party while an F&W photographer documented the event. The story will be in our August issue, but the episode about the shoot airs tonight on Planet Green at 10 pm ET (how meta). I haven’t seen the episode, titled Food & Whine, but I hear our shoot adds some drama to the day and that F&W’s Creative Director Stephen Scoble makes a cameo. Those without the Planet Green channel, like me, can download the episode on iTunes after it airs.










News

A Preview of Eataly's Beer Garden

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© Michael Endelman

New Food & Wine Features Editor Michael Endelman is so new to staff, that he doesn’t have a blog profile yet. But he wanted to share this update about an exciting new beer garden in NYC. Here it is:

One of the most exciting things about Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich’s gastronomic amusement park Eataly was the promise of La Birreria, a rooftop Italian-style beer garden with food by Batali and exclusive beers by a trio of cult beer giants—Dogfish Head’s Sam Calagione and the pioneers of Italy’s up-and-coming beer scene: Teo Musso of Birra Baladin in Turin, and Leonardo Di Vincenzo of Birra del Borgo in Rome.

But more than six months after Eataly opened, the project is still MIA. Not for long! The trio previewed the long-awaited Italo-pub this week with a tasting of their beers and some of the dishes Batali is prepping for the menu. Here are five reasons we’re counting the days until the May opening:

1.    Year-Round Drinking: The space was close to ready last fall, Calagione told us, but then Batali and Bastianich decided to “make a $2 million dollar bet on it,” by putting in a retractable roof, so there will be four-season eating and swilling. Bonus: There’s a great view of the Empire State Building from up there.
2.    Kegs Straight from the Old Country: Italy is producing some of the most interesting beer in the world, but it can be tough to find—especially on tap. (Even in Italy, it’s not so huge: “Maybe next year we will reach 0.2 percent of the market,” joked Birra del Borgo founder, Di Vincenzo.) Eataly will have a ton of Italian brews by the glass; probably three in casks and at least six in regular kegs (Dogfish’s beers will be mixed in as well). It’s a chance to taste ultra-rare stuff like the caramelly, creamy Super Baladin or Birra del Borgo’s grassy Genziana, brewed with a bitter herb usually used in making amaro instead of hops.
3.    Exclusive Brews: Meet NYC’s newest beer star—Brooks Carretta, a 28-year-old bearded Italian dude from Birra del Borgo who just moved to town to be Eataly’s in-house beermaker. He’ll be making beers on the roof, like a version of Dogfish Head’s 75-minute IPA infused with thyme. He’s so new in town that he wasn’t quite sure of the name of the Brooklyn street he lives on.
4.    Batali Does Bar Food: A quick run through the menu had some early standouts: tempura-style mushrooms, a mustardy potato salad peppered with crispy guanciale, and an evil-looking dark blood sausage humming with cinnamon. (It’s an especially nice match with Birra del Borgo’s 25 Dodici, a spiced winter ale.)
5.    They’ll Take Reservations: For parties of six or more, you can get your own picnic table. Thanks, Mario!

Restaurants

Caveman Bone Marrow at the Museum of Food and Drink Lunch

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© kate krader
Wylie Dufresne's Bone Marrow—just like in caveman times.

I can’t imagine a better way to raise money for the upcoming Museum of Food and Drink than with an amazing lunch at Del Posto in New York City. And that's just what Dave Arnold (Culinary Technology Director at the French Culinary Institute) and Patrick Martins (co-founder of Heritage Foods USA) did for MOFAD this weekend. Hopefully we’ll start walking through the doors of the museum in the next four or five years. In anticipation of that great day, some of the city’s best chefs and mixologists took part in the Get-the-Ball-Rolling Fundraiser. Each was assigned a different period in history or a food trend as their theme. Highlights:

Dave Chang: American Food 1491

Dish: It’s a Shame We Know More About Dinosaurs Than About What Native Americans Ate (Oysters, Acorns and Berries). Although almost no research exists on diets of that period in America, Chang found out that the Native Americans prized oysters—the bigger the better. And served supersized oysters, aged for over a year, with black “acorn bread” and berries.

Wylie Dufresne: Caveman Food

Dish: Bone Appetit (Potato, Bone Marrow, Scallops, Beets, Enoki Mushrooms). Because cavemen had no short supply of bone marrow, as well as root vegetables and shellfish, Dufresne cleverly filled roast potatoes with bone marrow, served them on roast ground scallops that looked like dirt and topped them with roasted enoki mushrooms that looked like twigs. He basically reimagined a bone found in the woods would look like to a caveman. “It was that or roadkill,” said Dufresne.

© kate krader
Mark Ladner's Ancient Rome Ostrich. No silverware required.

Mark Ladner
: Ancient Rome

Dish: Big Bird (Boiled Ostrich). Ladner, the host chef, got his hands on three whole ostrich (one of which he decorated with yellow ostrich feathers and wheeled out as a centerpiece to the meal; he said if he’d been in Rome circa 3 AD, he probably would have ridden it around the Coliseum before turning it into dinner). He stewed the other two until the meat was super tender , mixed it with celery and barley and served it on a round of bread with no silverware.

Christina Tosi: Space Food
Dish: Neapolitan Ice Cream (Strawberry, Chocolate and Vanilla Ice Cream). “When you think of space food, you think of astronaut ice cream,” said Tosi, who served meringue-like chocolate and strawberry nuggets with vanilla-cream ice cream and brownie batter spread on the plate.   

Recipes

Remembering Elizabeth Taylor

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© Petrina Tinslay

With recipes inspired by some of her most memorable films, Food & Wine celebrates the amazing life of legendary actress Elizabeth Taylor:

National Velvet (1944)
Twelve-year old jockey Velvet Brown’s namesake dessert: Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Ice Cream (pictured). Bonus: her horse’s name was Pie.

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958)
Spicy recipes that could have been served by Maggie the Cat at Big Daddy’s revelatory birthday party in New Orleans, including Chicken and Smoked-Sausage Gumbo and Creole Shrimp with Garlic and Lemon.

Cleopatra (1963)
Food fit for a queen: Egyptian Spiced Carrot Puree and Okra in Tomato Sauce.

Chefs

It's Official: Lemon Meringue Pie Equals Spring

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© kate krader
Gramercy Tavern's Springtime Lemon Meringue Pie.

Spring officially started on Sunday, March 20. But for me it begins today, when Nancy Olson and her awesome pastry team at Manhattan’s Gramercy Tavern introduce their lemon meringue pie to the menu. Of course it’s amazing—a towering piece of pie that’s roughly 50 percent sweet-tart-velvety lemon curd and 50 percent toasted, pillowy meringue with some extra percent flaky-crisp pastry.

The pie is the brainchild of GT pastry sous chef Alex Ray, whose grandmother made it for every holiday. Ray obsessed about everything from the meringue (she went classic, not Italian, which is made with boiling-hot sugar syrup) to the pastry (she went with sweet pastry, as opposed to more savory pâte brisée) to the burning question of whether to serve the pie with ice cream. And if so, what flavor. At press time, the answer was salted-cashew ice cream. “But that’s negotiable,” says Olson. “If someone wants vanilla, we can do that. This is Gramercy Tavern, it’s like Garanimals here. Mixing and matching is our game.”

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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.

Run with chefs and wine experts in the Celebrity Chef 5K and dance all night at Gail Simmons’ Last Bite Dessert Party during the FOOD & WINE Classic in Aspen, June 20-22.