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Mouthing Off

By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine

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Beer

NYC Craft Beer Week Kicks Off Today

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Passport

© NY Beer Week
NY Beer Week Passport

The 4th Annual NY Craft Beer Week starts today and goes through Sunday, September 25. Beer Passports are available for $10 online, or as an iPhone or Droid app, and include a complete list of events as well as coupons for $3 beers at hundreds of local bars. Some highlights by the numbers:
 
- 6 courses of chef Bobby Hellen’s fantastic Belgian-inspired food at Resto on Monday 9/19 for the Ultimate Brewmaster's Degustation Beer Dinner, with two beer pairings per course. Call 212-685-5585 for reservations.

- 10 days to take part in Beer Week events that include tastings, music festivals and pub crawls.
 
- 21 breweries pouring special beers paired with charcuterie, cheese and chocolate at the Brewer’s Choice pairing event at City Winery on the 22nd.
 
- $40 to attend the September 24 Have Beer, Will Travel event at Hudson Terrace and taste 50 obscure beers from NY and Canada.
 
- 150 mile radius of NYC: Eight breweries in this range will participate in the Just Food: Let Us Eat Local Annual Fundraiser on the 21st. Restaurants providing food include ABC Kitchen, Gramercy Tavern and the Spotted Pig, among others. A portion of proceeds from the evening will go to farmers impacted by Hurricane Irene.

Related: Great American Beer, Bourbon and More

Farms

Eating Spanish Food at Tertulia Supports Vermont

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© Colin Clark
Chef Seamus Mullen

Vermont native Seamus Mullen takes a seasonal, product-driven approach to Spanish food at his new NYC restaurant, Tertulia, and starting tonight he's showing support for farmers and residents in his home state, where Hurricane Irene caused serious damage. From September 14 through 17, guests can donate any amount on their checks and the restaurant will match a portion of it, up to $50. It's a nice excuse to try Mullen's Asturian-inspired menu, with dishes like mackerel with white beans and roasted and pickled peppers, or chorizo with garbanzos and Cabrales cheese—plus there's cider on tap. Proceeds go to Upper Valley Haven, a leader in the relief efforts.

News

A Mouthwatering Fall Film Festival

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A full house at the 2010 NYC Food Film Festival.

© Ryan Jensen
A full house at the 2010 NYC Food Film Festival.


This fall’s NYC Food Film Festival, which just announced its October 13–16 lineup, promises to be another awesome year of food obsessions, both on-screen and off. Non-celluloid food notwithstanding (which will surely be awesome, with a new Taco Takedown and something they’re calling a Food Porn Party), the film selections look killer — Truck Farm, on the inspiring mobile garden project F&W reported about a few months back, Mistura: The Power of Food on the Peruvian food festival that chef Dan Barber is raving about and a profile of beloved Brooklyn pizza legend Dom DeMarco of DiFara, entitled Best Thing I Ever Done. We’ll be there, but we’re leaving the stale popcorn at home: If the food offerings are anything like last year’s (pig’s blood popsicles, anyone?), we know we’re in for some good movie-watching munchies.

Farms

Dine Out Irene

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© Dine Out Irene

Hurricane Irene may have been just an inconvenience for a lot of New Yorkers, but for many farmers in upstate New York, New Jersey and Vermont—who supply our local green-markets and restaurants—it has threatened their very livelihood. According to the New York Times, 140,000 acres of farmland in New York state alone were damaged by the storm. GrowNYC, which organizes many of the city's green-markets, estimates that 80 percent of its farmers have been affected.

What can you do to help? On Sunday, September 25, restaurants across New York City will participate in Dine Out Irene, with up to 10 percent of sales going toward helping local farmers. The funds will go to GrowNYC and Just Food, which will then distribute the funds directly to the farmers in need.

So far (and keep checking for updates), the list of restaurants includes: Aldea, A Voce Columbus, Buttermilk Channel, Kefi and Salumeria Rosi. A great meal and helping out our farmers? I'm in!    

Restaurants

Just Food's Let Us Eat Local Benefit

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2010's Let Us Eat Local Event

© Just Food
2010's Let Us Eat Local Event

On September 21, NYC nonprofit Just Food is hosting the fourth annual Let Us Eat Local benefit at the Altman Building on West 18th Street in Manhattan. Accessibility and expense are two of the looming reasons why it's difficult for impoverished communities to get local and sustainable produce, but Just Food helps by launching CSAs, opening new farmers’ markets and developing community gardening programs. The nonprofit even connects soup kitchens and food pantries with small farmers and hosts cooking demonstrations to help spread food education. Like many fall benefits, the cause is worthy, but the $175 ticket also secures tastings from some of the city's best restaurants, including Gramercy Tavern, the Spotted Pig and Jean-Georges Vongerichten's ABC Kitchen. For VIPs, Rouge Tomate sommelier Pascaline Lepeltier will lead a wine-pairing workshop featuring bottles from Long Island and upstate New York vineyards. Tickets are available here.

News

Crazy Pizzas

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© James Baigrie

I just came back from Chicago and when locals there talked about food, guess what they talked about: Pizza. I live in New York City and guess where food conversations invariably go: to pizza. I won’t get involved in debating the top places around the country (although I will always vote for Chris Bianco’s Pizzeria Bianco in Phoenix, Arizona as Number #1). But I am obsessed with all the wacky pizzas that people are calling out now. Are they crazy delicious, or just crazy crazy? You decide.
 
Tony’s Pizza Napoletana, San Francisco.
At this very serious new pizza spot in the Bay Area, they have pizza ovens ranging from 1000° coal fired to 550° gas. Likewise, Tony’s offers a range of pizzas. They’ll only sell 73 Margherita pies a day. There seems to be no such limit on the Fear & Loathing pie, which is topped with slow-cooked pork in tamarind and fresh cactus and agave nectar salsa. Likewise the Campari, with pancetta and goat cheese, has another ingredient I’ve never associated with pizza—Campari-blood orange sauce.
 
Al's Gourmet Pizza, Washington, DC.
This pizza spot is 14 blocks from the Capitol and reportedly got crazy business during the endless debt-ceiling debates. Who knows what the congressmen were ordering, but their choices include the Triple Cheese Steak Pizza (marinated sirloin steak, crunchy onion rings, mushrooms, cherry peppers) and the Triple Cheese Burger Pizza that you can get with ground beef or sausage—on a whole wheat crust for those in congress looking for a healthier diet.
 
Ian’s, Chicago.

Where to start with the menu at Ian’s, which has branches in Madison, Milwaukee and at Chicago’s Wrigleyville. Their all-time best-selling slice at Wrigleyville is the mac & cheese, made with crème fraiche, mozzarella and Cheddar (yay for Wisconsin, the dairy state). That starts to sound reasonable, when you consider that they offer plain noodles like penne and lasagna as an add-on topping. Or that a recent special was biscuits-and-gravy pizza. (Also to note about Ian’s – their Wrigleyville site looks ahead to November 2012 when they’re celebrating the Cubs recent World Series victory.)
 
Mulberry Street Pizza, Manchester, CT.
New Haven, Connecticut, is home to some of the country’s epic pizza places, like Pepe’s. Not far from there is Manchester, home of Mulberry Street Pizza, where they like to employ the names of cult movies, people and places for their pies. The M*A*S*H is a white pizza with ham, jack cheese and mashed potatoes (on top, not in the dough). White Castle is a cheeseburger pizza with lite sauce, meatballs, bacon, lettuce, tomato and ketchup. And the Peter Pan pizza boasts provolone, bacon and, you guessed it, a peanut butter base.
 
Stevi B's, Georgia.
Franchised across the south, and mostly in Georgia, Stevi B’s has a guiding principle: Everything tastes better on top of a Stevi B’s pizza. For the BLT pizza, the garlic-butter-brushed crust is topped with mozzarella, bacon, tomatoes, iceberg lettuce, and that key BLT ingredient, mayo. Cheeseburger pizza? Check (it’s finished with crisp dill pickles “to create a burger-lovers dream”). Chicken Fajita pizza? Check. Macaroni and Cheese pizza? You know it. It’s when we get to the Loaded Baked Potato pizza that my stomach starts to hurt: creamy ranch sauce on the crust, baked potato on top, Jack and cheddar cheeses covering the whole thing.

Related:
Best Pizza Places in the U.S.
Awesome Pizza Recipes

(Pictured: Perfect Pizza Margherita)

Cocktails

Beyond the Lemonade Stand

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© Buff Strickland

Maybe you heard about this: A few weeks ago, police shut down a lemonade stand in Midway, Georgia. The stand wasn’t a front for drug dealers; it was a money-making scheme by three young local girls who wanted to go a water park. Apparently in Midway you need a business license for a lemonade stand.

In honor of the Midway Lemonade Girls – who are now selling their product at the Richmond Hill Farmers Market on Tuesdays, no permits necessary — let’s look at some fun lemonades that are keeping folks cool during this long, hot summer.

Lemonade, Los Angeles. Yes, that’s the actual name of the place, which has three locations around LA. They offer 6 or so types of lemonade daily with rotating flavors, like peach-ginger, andblueberry-mint; the newest and most popular one is hibiscus. If you’re looking for a deal, all lemonades are $1 on Tuesdays the downtown Flower Street shop. And if you need relief from lemonade, there’s assorted salads and paninis on the menu, too.

Del's Frozen Lemonade, Rhode Island. I knew lemonade was classic but I didn’t know you could trace it back to 1840, Naples, Italy. At least that’s the origin of Del’s, which claims that the first version of their refreshing sweet-tart drink was made by someone’s great grandfather with wintertime snow, big fat ripe lemons and sugar. Fast forward to now, Del’s has branches in over a dozen states and flavors like watermelon. Their brand newest flavors are grapefruit and pomegranate.

Big City Grill & Lemonade, Indianapolis.
Lemonade isn’t the point here: most people focus on the Philly cheesesteaks (or the Philly buster, made with steak, chicken and ground beef) and the nachos, which you can get with extra cheese by the cup. But everyone loves the lemonade, too, which they say is made with real lemons and a great deal at $2.09 for 20 ounces. I’m not asking if flavors like fruit punch are all-natural.

Mario's Italian Lemonade, Chicago. When its super hot, like it often is in Chicago in summer, it’s great to have a lemonade that’s really a shaved Italian ice. The classic is especially good and it’s dotted with little pieces of lemon, but there’s also melon and even pina colada if you’re going fancier. The place is open straight through from 10 am to midnight, which is a good thing because nights in Chicago are pretty hot, too.

Mister Parker’s Lemonade Stand at The Parker Palm Springs, Palm Springs, CA. You’re poolside at The Parker, thinking you might want to play a game of croquet on the nearby court if only you had some refreshment. Luckily for you, the Lemonade Stand is right there, making drinks like their their excellent frozen muddled vodka lemonade with lemons grown right on the hotel grounds. If you don’t have the strength to get to the stand, they will deliver your cocktail to the hammock area by bicycle.

Related Links:
Lemonade Recipes
Awesome Summer Drinks
Party Punch Recipes

(Pictured: Tarragon Lemonade)

Beer

Bees and Honey Are All the Buzz

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With national bee frenzy growing for some time, new products like honey beer are starting to hit the market. The Obamas were right at the forefront of the movement when they served White House Honey Ale, home-brewed by their chefs with honey from the White House beehive, at a Super Bowl party this year. (Celebrity guest Marc Anthony liked the beer so much, he is reportedly hanging on to the bottle given to him by the First Lady.)
 
Now, Denver’s luxe Brown Palace Hotel & Spa is partnering with Wynkoop Brewing Company to produce a Belgian-style saison beer with the honey from a rooftop bee colony. The hotel will debut the bee-brew during this year’s Great American Beer Festival.
 
A new one-stop bee-inspired shop in Cambridge, MA, doesn't sell beer, but it does have all sorts of treats and trinkets for the modern bee lover. Opened on National Honey Bee Day, August 20, Follow the Honey sources honeys from all 50 states and abroad, and sells beeswax candles and soaps, beekeeping books, bee-inspired artwork and even jewelry.

Related: Fantastic Honey Recipes

Wine

Rockin’ Wine and Spirits

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Justin Timberlake raises a glass of his new 901 Silver Tequila.

© Larry Busacca/Getty Images
Justin Timberlake raises a glass of his new 901 Silver Tequila.

 

I am super-excited that Lady Gaga will be performing at the upcoming MTV Video Music Awards—both for the music and to see what she’ll be wearing. Another version of the meat dress? A tiara of frozen confections to echo the ice cream truck in her newest video? She’s not the first out-there artist to venture into the food and wine world, though. Audacious rocker Marilyn Manson is now making an absinthe cheekily dubbed Mansinthe in Germany (perhaps it induces the sort of hallucinatory effects he employs in his videos). Tool frontman Maynard James Keenan, who became enamored with Arizona as a “harsh yet mystical” winemaking terrain, debuted his first wine from his Arizona vineyard, Caduceus Cellars, back in 2006. Justin Timberlake has devised yet another way to get us on the dance floor with his new 901 Silver Tequila. Even Aussie rockers AC/DC are getting in on the action with their own wine label. It launches in Australia this week with hilarious varieties like Back in Black Shiraz, Highway to Hell Cabernet Sauvignon and You Shook Me All Night Long Moscato. Gaga’s currently working on a fashion collaboration with Nicola Formichetti for Barneys. If she doesn’t start making wine, at least maybe she can think about meat dresses for the masses?

Related: Surprising Celebrity Food Products

Restaurants

The Best Sellers at Michael Voltaggio's ink sack

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© Ryan Tanaka

It's one week into Michael Voltaggio surprise sandwich spot, ink sack. A twist on his original idea—a Venice beach sandwich kiosk called Fingers—Voltaggio now has lines down Melrose Avenue for his 4-inch sandwiches. Why so small? "Usually I get bored with eating a big sandwich," says Voltaggio. "Here you can eat two, three different ones. Or you can eat one, and then get in line and order two more of the same. It's kind of like a food truck that way; a food truck that doesn't move."

Which brings us to ink. sack's best selling sandwiches thus far. It's a tie. Best seller #1 is the cold fried chicken. It's made with chicken thighs cooked sous vide with piment d'esplette, then breaded in corn flakes and fried; it's served with ranch dressing (that includes curds of centrifuged buttermilk) and hot sauce. Best seller #2 is the José Andrés, aka the Spanish godfather. It's stuffed with chorizo, lomo and Serrano ham (the only meats Voltaggio doesn't prepare in house) and olives, piquillo peppers, manchego cheese and sherry vinaigrette. It's also got good old romaine lettuce, which apparently comes as a surprise to a few customers. "Some people come in with expectations of avant-garde dining. Do you want liquid nitrogen frozen lettuce on your sandwich? I don't. These are sandwiches the way I want to eat them," says Voltaggio.

ink.sack, 8360 Melrose Ave., No. 107, Los Angeles, CA.

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