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Mouthing Off

By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine

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News

Brooklyn's New Food-Focused Music Festival

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GoogaMooga Musical Festival

Photo: Adam Macchia


Superfly
, the team behind the ultracool music festivals Bonnaroo (in Tennessee) and Outside Lands (in San Francisco), is at it again, launching a free food-focused musical extravaganza in Brooklyn this spring. Its newest project, just announced today, will be called The Great GoogaMooga (old-school DJ slang for "awesome"), and will take over the Nethermead area of Brooklyn’s Prospect Park on May 19 and 20. Read more about GoogaMooga >

 

 

 

 

 

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Restaurants

Mario Batali’s Pang Charity Sandwich

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© Alexander Jorgensen
First Look at the Batali Pang at Num Pang.

By now you must know that F&W loves when chefs work to change the world through charity programs. We also happen to love Mario Batali. And sandwiches. Add that all up, and here’s what you’ve got: Batali creating a limited-edition sandwich for charity at the excellent Cambodian sandwich shop Num Pang in Manhattan’s East Village. It’s the inaugural sandwich for Num Pang’s Guest Chefs Give Back. The program was created by Num Pang owners Ben Daitz and Ratha Chaupoly; look for new big-name cooks and their sandwiches in the coming month.
 
First up, the Batali Pang. It’s an awesome combo of Brooklyn-made cotecchino sausage, balsamic pickled onions and sheep’s milk cheese, mixed with more traditional Num Pang ingredients (homemade chili mayo, pickled carrots, cucumber, cilantro), served on a toasted semolina baguette. On sale from February 15-March 15, it’s going for $9.75; proceeds will be split between The Food Bank for New York City (one of my personal favorites) and The Cambodian Children’s Fund.
 
For more details and a cute pic of the principal players, go to Midtownlunch.com.

Chefs

Wacky Food Trends for 2012

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© John Kernick

By Kate Krader, Restaurant Editor

Now that we’re a month into the New Year, it’s time to stop talking about a 2012 diet. That moment is gone. Instead of giving up foods, wouldn’t it be great to bring some new things into your life: squirrel, fish bones, black water. Here’s a few things you should start eating immediately to be on the cutting edge of the food world.

Chocolate-Covered Sprouts. Last year Frito-Lay began putting natural foods in their snacks. (Brief round of applause for them.) Now comes junk food that’s having even more of an identity crisis. Lulu Chocolate’s Smoked Sea Salt Almond raw Organic Chocolate Bar (that’s a mouthful) is made with sprouted almonds—sprouts being a supercool health foods these days. Is that better than Shiloh Farms Dark Chocolate Covered Sprouted Almonds? There’s only one way to find out.

Fish Spines. We’ve come a long way from the days when nose-to-tail was a novelty (back in the olden days, about 8 years ago). Even fried fish bones are now almost as ubiquitous as sliders on menus, at least in NYC where I live, at places like En Japanese Brasserie and Brooklyn’s Isa in Brooklyn. The new frontier is fried fish spines. At Blue Ribbon Bar & Grill in midtown Manhattan, they serve specials like fried wild eel spine—it’s the size of a pencil. They’re also eating the gills from wild king yellowtail: first they dehydrate them, then they fry them, and serve them “just for fun,” says Blue Ribbon Manager Rich Ho.

Unnaturally Black Foods. Black foods are nothing new. So it’s foods like squid ink pasta, blackout cake and black sesame seeds (what I like to think of as “naturally occurring black foods”) that have paved the way for this new breed of black foods. Specifically the jet black burger buns that anchor the “Darth Vader” burger which will debut this month at France’s fast food chain, Quick. And of blk., the black health water that’s the brainchild of Albie and Chris Manzo, who you know from the Real Housewives of New Jersey. Like the Manzo brothers, you might not understand exactly what makes the water black, but is that really the point of this water? No, it’s not.

Random Animals. Recently some high-profile people in the food world have offered opinions on what we can eat in the name of causes like saving the planet, and pushing boundaries. Rene Redzepi, chef of Noma in Copenhagen, aka the world’s best restaurant, recommended that people in the States start eating squirrel (he hashtagged them “rabbit of the sky” on Twitter). And Bizarre Foods hero Andrew Zimmern came back from a trip to Beijing energized by a 10-course donkey tasting. “Donkey should be on everyone’s plate in 2012,” he says.

More from Food & Wine:

50 Best Bars in America

Best Pizza in the U.S.

Best Fried Chicken in the U.S.

Andrew Zimmern's Kitchen Adventures

Super Bowl Recipes

(pictured: Black-Sesame Salmon Balls)

News

Leonardo DiCaprio Saves the World Through Coffee

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While Food & Wine is busy helping phenomenal chefs like Mario Batali and Rick Bayless make change and save the world, some other notable people are doing their part, too. Leonardo DiCaprio is partnering with outstanding coffee producer La Colombe Torrefaction to create a special blend called Lyon. All net profits will go to environmental projects supported by the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation. (The foundation works with, among others, the National Resource Defense Council and the World Wildlife Fund on one of my favorite initiatives, SaveTigersNow.org). "Leonardo has an acute understanding of the challenges we all face," says Todd Carmichael, Torrecfaction's co-founder. "Particularly those people in the developing world, which incidentally, are also coffee growing countries."
 


The new eco coffee Lyon, has Leonardo DiCaprio's name all over it.

And here’s more on Lyon coffee. It’s a blend of, no surprise, sustainably raised beans from Haiti, Peru, Ethiopia and Brazil. It’s available at Williams-Sonoma and select Whole Foods, plus at La Colombe cafés. You won’t see DiCpario acting as barista at La Colombe any time soon, unfortunately; he’s in Australia filming The Great Gatsby.

Restaurants

Out of Control French Fries

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© David Malosh

When it comes to French fries, I’m pretty much of a purist. I’m perfectly happy with the Thrice-Cooked Chips (translation: twice fried fries) at New York City’s Breslin. But for many, that’s way too simple. Let’s look at a few enterprising places that get creative with their fries.

Thrasher's French Fries, Ocean City, MD. Thrasher’s has been serving fries on the boardwalk since 1929. The fries come in cup sizes: 16 ounces, 32 ounces and 53 ounces, at which point you’re basically in supersize popcorn bucket territory. Thrasher’s doesn't offer ketchup – only apple cider vinegar. "We have no catsup, because we don't want anything competing with the wonderful taste of the French fried potato," owner Buddy Jenkins has said.

Primanti Bros., Pittsburgh, PA. Here’s why I love Pittsburgh: because they’re not afraid to put French fries right in their sandwiches. In fact they might have pioneered the practice. Primanti first started adding fries to their sandwiches in the 1930s. Now the Primanti’s “Almost Famous” menu includes Pitts-Burgher Cheesesteak, Knockwurst & Cheese, Colossal Fish & Cheese and Jumbo Bologna & Cheese—all topped with french fries, cole slaw, and tomatoes.

Fresh Fries, Los Angeles. The Fresh Fries truck takes their specialty seriously. But maybe serious isn’t the right word for a place that offers their fries —which come in natural cut, sweet potato or curly –in such crazy combinations. Among their offerings: Stinky Pinky (topped with grilled onions and thousand island dressing); Peanut Buttercup (sweet potato fries with nutella and peanut butter); and the most cross-cultural option, 626 (with hoisin sauce, mayo and crunchy noodles).

Big and Little’s, Chicago. Unlike some places in the wacky French fry category, Big & Little’s is primarily known for something besides fries; in this case, their mahi fish tacos. Still, they’re also skilled at putting a serious piece or two of perfectly seared foie gras on top of their perfectly fried fries. For those who find that to be just too much, they also offer truffle duck fat au jus as a side to the fries.

Related Links:

Best Burgers in the U.S.

Best Burger Recipes Ever 


Best Grilled Cheese in the U.S.

Best Pizza Places in the U.S.

(pictured: Bobby Flay's Bistro Fries)

Health

Craziest New Diets

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© Quentin Bacon

If your 2012 diet is off to a fantastic start, yay you. And continue whatever it is you’re doing. If, however, you haven’t already lost 10 pounds, don’t be hard on yourself. Maybe it’s not you: It’s the diet. (Sort of like the old Sex and the City adage: “He’s just not that into you.”) Consider, then, these diets could be exactly right for you.

The Chubster Diet. Here you have “A Hipster’s Guide to Losing Weight While Staying Cool.” Martin Cizmar’s brand-new book notes two definitions of chubster: 1) someone who is proud to be fatty mcfatfat; and 2) the cool guy who is formerly fat. Chapters include How to Work Out (without Looking Like a Tool); there are ratings—from awesome to awful—for Stuff You Can Nuke. Lean Cuisine Chicken with Lasagna Rollatini gets an awful. “Rollatini isn’t actually a type of pasta—it’s not even an Italian word,” notes Cizmar, who lost 100 pounds in eight months after something he refers to as “the Slurpee incident.”

Dukan Diet. Kate Middleton was on it. Jennifer Lopez and Gisele Bundchen reportedly lost their baby weight with it, too. If those three names don’t make you jump on Dr. Pierre Dukan’s diet, you have so much self-control you probably don’t need to lose weight anyway. The Dukan diet, which first came out in France in 2000, is basically a high-protein diet—there are days of pure protein, alternating with days of protein plus vegetables. Unfortunate side effects can include bad breath, constipation, dry mouth and fatigue.

Thrive Vegan Diet. If you’re looking for a diet that’s good for something besides yourself – like the earth – consider Thrive. Created by professional triathlete Brendan Brazier, Thrive focuses on vegan foods that help fuel your way to uber athleticism. Thrive Foods his newest book, includes 200 plant based recipes; if you want a 6-week workout plan, plus old-school-looking photos of Brazier working out, go for Thrive Fitness, and hope that Hugh Jackman, who’s been on the Thrive Vegan diet, will star in the next series of workout photos.

Paleoista Diet. First there was the Paleo diet. Better known as the Caveman diet, Paleo focuses on the diets of our very ancient ancestors with an emphasis on lean meats, seafood, fruits, nuts and vegetables. (Some paleos take it to extremes and donate blood frequently to simulate caveman hunting injuries.) Paleoista does not go that far; instead this book by Nell Stephenson, which comes out in May, is paleo for girls: it means eliminating anything made with sugar, processed grains, legumes and dairy. Which presumably will change the morning Starbucks habits of a lot of wannabe paleoistas.

Gay Men Don’t Get Fat Diet. This is not the place to find a recipe for Seared Ostrich with Dandelion Greens (look to the Paleoista for that). In fact, there are no recipes. Instead author Simon Doonan, the creative ambassador at large for Barneys New York, divides foods into straight (the fattening ones) and gay (the healthy, good-looking ones) and then advises eating both for a healthy diet.

More from Food & Wine:

50 Best Bars in America

Best Burgers in the U.S.

Best Pizza Places in the U.S.

Best Fried Chicken in the U.S.

Super Bowl Recipes

(pictured: Superstar chef Alice Waters's Pink-Grapefruit-and Avocado Salad)

Restaurants

A Magnus Nilsson Dinner Without Travelling to Sweden

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© Vila Joya
Magnus Nilsson (center) and his Faviken team at Portugal's International Gourmet Festival.

I tried to map the distance from my house in NYC to Fäviken, Magnus Nilsson’s remarkable super-naturalist restaurant in Fäviken, Sweden. I’m not very good with Mapquest; I’ll estimate that it's more than 4,000 miles away (but only about 200 miles to the Arctic Circle). Nilsson saved me the trouble of going all the way up north to see him by cooking at a festival I went to last week, the super-fun International Gourmet Festival in Portugal.

What did Nilsson and his team haul from Sweden for the meal? Not much: some cheese, reindeer lichen (it’s delicious!) and a few lingonberries. Instead, Nilsson shopped locally, scoring some Atlantic bonito at the local fish market and some awesome pork from Mahladinha, a winery that also raises black-foot pigs. And then he foraged a bunch of ingredients from the beach right below Vila Joya, where his dinner took place. He said I could help him find wood sorrel to garnish his pine bark cookies. How thrilling that I’d get to help one of the world’s most brilliant chefs make dinner. But I bailed (clothes shopping emergency). And then happily ate those cookies and the rest of Nilsson’s dishes.

Here are some highlights from that meal. Special thanks to the Russian billionaire who flew his plane to Paris to pick up some caviar and vodka for the cocktail hour.
 
Blood, Roe and Lichens: This dish featured pig blood tartlets topped with trout roe, two things I don't generally eat together (and one thing I don't generally eat, period). Please believe me—it was delicious.
 
Tuna: Atlantic bonito marinated in mushroom juice and served with a brown-butter-toasted-oatmeal sauce.
 
Porridge: Oat, rye, wheat, flax seeds and sunflower seeds made into a creamy, cheesy porridge and served with kale sauce.
 
Heart and Marrow: A sublime meat salad with pieces of beef heart tossed with chunks of bone marrow and an herb that included herbs foraged from the Algarve.

Restaurants

Coldplay + AOC in LA

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© Sarah Lee

What’s better then a sold-out floor seat ticket to Coldplay 2012 tour. If you’re in LA, this: that ticket plus a pre-show meal at AOC, the phenomenal Cal-Med wine (and food) bar from Suzanne Goin (an F&W hero and Best New Chef 1999). Blackboardeats dreamed up the package, which is also rolling out in NYC & Chicago. It answers the prayers of all you who don't want to eat something lame before an epic show.
 
Goin just happens to be a huge Coldplay fan and she’ll be heading to the Hollywood Bowl for the show after the dinner on at least one of the show’s three nights. So if you don’t know the way to the Bowl from AOC, you can ask Goin for directions. You can also ask her if any of the dishes are Coldplay-inspired. (For the Chicago Blackboardeats package, Mercadito is creating a Coldplay inspired tequila cocktail.)
 
If you want to start planning your night ahead, here are more details, including the AOC menu and show dates.
 
The Package: A three-course menu at AOC, a floor seat ticket (and a laminated pass for the memories) is $250, while tickets last. Look out for the email blast coming from Blackboardeats LA on Tuesday, January 17.
 
The Dates: May 1, 2, 4   
 
The Place(s): AOC/Hollywood Bowl
 
The Menu:
Citrus and avocado salad with mint and green olives
 
Grilled market fish with fava beans and savory creme fraiche
OR
Liberty Ranch duck confit with black rice and English peas
 
Bittersweet chocolate tart with mascarpone and pistachios in olive oil

Restaurants

F&W Exclusive: LudoBites New Reservation System with Urbanspoon

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© Mathieu Bitton

Looking for proof that 2012 is going to be a great year? Here you go. LudoBites 8, the next iteration of Ludo and Krissy Lefebvre’s wildly popular pop-up Los Angeles restaurant, has a new reservation system. Now maybe, just maybe, you’ll have luck snagging a seat for Ludo's terrific menu. If you think Krissy and Ludo didn’t feel your pain when you couldn’t get a seat at LudoBites 1 through 007, you’re wrong. “We were looking for a creative approach to provide a fair opportunity for all,” says Krissy, who watched six weeks of reservations for LudoBites 007 disappear in less than 60 seconds.
 
To the rescue: Urbanspoon. The primo restaurant discovery site is providing a lottery-style reservation system on their site, allowing people to enter requests for 24 hours, starting at 11 a.m. PST on January 11; the system will then randomly assign reservations. “We’re supportive,” says Kara Nortman, GM of Urbanspoon. “We wanted to come up with a democratic solution to get people into LudoBites 8. LudoBites 007 caused finger fatigue here, everyone clicking non-stop to get in.”

 
There’s one more way to get into LudoBites 8. From January 7 through February 7, anyone who makes a reservation for an LA restaurant through Urbanspoon and then tweets it out, is entered in a lottery to win a free (free!! whoopee!!) dinner for four at LudoBites 8 on February 20.


Ludobites 8 Will Have an Awesome New Reservation System.

Here’s LudoBites 8 information, all in one convenient place.
 
Where: Lemon Moon, 12200 Olympic Blvd. (Ludo is excited to be in the kitchen of his good friends Josiah Citrin and Raphael Lunetta, F&W Best New Chefs 1997.)
 
When the Reservation Process Starts: January 11, at 11 a.m. PST, through January 12, 10.59 a.m. PST.
 
Where the Reservation Process Takes Place: www.urbanspoon.com/ludobites8. (The page goes live when the lottery starts on January 11th.)
 
When You Can Eat At LudoBites 8: Jan 18-20, 23-27, 30-31; Feb 1-3, 6-10, 13-15, 17 and 20-22.

One Last Way to Eat at LudoBites 8: There will be 6 walk-in seats each night at the bar. If the weather is nice (and come on, this is LA, there will be additional walk-in patio seating).


Menu: In process. Will be finalized by January 18.

News

Napkins: Pro or Con

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Comedien Hannibal Buress Is In the Non Napkin Group.

There’s not ever a shortage of food controversies. Genetically modified crops; saturated fats: good for you or not really; Tony Bourdain versus Paula Deen. But recently I’ve become embroiled in something I call the napkin controversy. On one side there’s the Extreme Napkin group; on the other is the Non Napkin group. Choose your side.
 
Extreme Napkins. It’s not technically a napkin, but this is clearly where the napkin-obsessed crowd is going. I’m now infatuated with something called the Adult Bib, which I found on the website stupid.com (another obsession). Here’s the description, which I really can’t improve on: “It’s hard to dine on messier foods when you're a Sophisticated Adult. Instead of starving yourself while the others get to eat ribs, seafood, caviar and escargot, you can quickly strap on your Elegant Adult Bib. These glossy, high-class Bibs are made from easily washable yet abnormally expensive-looking black vinyl with velcro straps.”
 
Non Napkins
. At Aziz Ansari’s very hilarious Hot Chocolate stand-up show in Brooklyn this weekend, the opening act Hannibal Buress (a Saturday Night Live writer who’s also hilarious) went off on a surprise rant. “I never put a napkin in my lap,” he said. “Because I believe in myself. I believe that I’m an adult who won’t spill food on himself.”
 
Me, I’m leaning toward the Non Napkin group.

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