In the Kitchen
René Redzepi has had an action-packed visit to New York City. He’s drunk cocktails at 10 a.m. at PDT, courtesy of F&W contributor Jim Meehan. He’s hung out with the city’s collective food media at a lovely cocktail party at Tasting Table.
And best of all, he came to the Food & Wine Test Kitchen, where he read from his awesome new book, A Work in Progress. (It’s a set of three books that spotlight a year at his Copenhagen restaurant, Noma—a book of Instagram images, a book of recipes and a journal printed on graph paper—all held together with a super-stylish giant yellow rubber band; it’s $60 and it’s worth every penny.) Redzepi chose an anxiety-filled journal entry from late August, when his hero Michel Bras came to eat at Noma.
We knew Redzepi was eating well in New York. But we wanted to be good hosts, and we knew he was on a taco kick. So we got Alex Stupak to bring a terrific spread from his restaurant Empellón Taqueria for Redzepi and Noma chef Lars Williams, featuring just-made tortillas, short rib pastrami, carnitas and Stupak’s crazy-good smoked cashew salsa. “Oh, man, Alex f***ing Stupak,” said Redzepi, who reminisced about losing his taco virginity (“a special moment for me”), the need for good tacos in Denmark (“tacos are uncharted country for us; they taste like cheap flour and raw dough”), and his attempts to make Mexican food when he was there on vacation (“I wasn’t so good; this old woman, she was 1 meter tall, she made me look ridiculous”).
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Food & Games
Last night’s Top Chef celebrated the New Orleans jazz scene with musician (and master red beans cook, according to Emeril Lagasse) Kermit Ruffins. Here, F&W's Fantasy Top Chef report. SPOILER ALERT>>
F&W asked chefs around the country how they would prepare for an apocalyptic situation, a la The Road. Some went for luxury goods—others focused on survival.
Oakland chef Russell Moore is all about practicality when it comes to his emergency pack. He would bring a knife, sea salt, seaweed, chiles, sesame seeds and a dried grain like farro. “I’d also need a small bottle of high-proof alcohol, like rum or whiskey—more to take the edge off and clean wounds than for cooking,” he says.
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For some people, a whole roast turkey can be the low point of the meal—bland, hard to cook perfectly—but there are satisfying alternatives, like roast Cornish hens or pimentón-spiced turkey breast. Read more >
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After a night on the line, most chefs have a go-to drink, from cheap beer to a house bartender's expert cocktail. Here, star chefs reveal their favorite drinks.
When it comes to cocktails, Joe Beef chef Frédéric Morin is a simple man. He typically sticks with two-ingredient drinks like Campari and soda or gin and tonic. “Right now I love a cocktail with soda water, where the ice is big and cold and the soda water is so bubbly that it itches,” he says. “Take a 2-ounce pour of Johnny Walker and a good splash of super bubbly water over a big piece of ice that doesn’t melt and dilute the drink. When your drink sparkles till the end, and stays ice-cold, that, for me, is the perfect cocktail.”
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Cheap Wine Challenge
Here, wine experts reveal their favorite bottles costing less than $17. Many of the selections are lesser known but absolutely worth the search.
Who: Brad Ball, proprietor and wine director, Social Wine Bar, Charleston, South Carolina
What: 2011 D. Ventura Viño do Burato, Ribeira Sacra
Why: “This medium-bodied wine is the perfect fall red, brimming with bright red fruits of pomegranate and red cherry, and intense floral notes of rose petal and geranium,” says Brad Ball. The wine is produced from the indigenous Mencía grape, which grows on some of the most dramatic vineyards in the world in northwest Spain. “It’s also just straight up delicious!” he says.
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You don't have to be a hoarder or deep-pocketed auction-goer to drink well-aged wine. Here, we spotlight affordable old bottles to buy now.
2003 Chateau Musar: This famous Lebanese wine is made by a charismatic storyteller named Serge Hochar, who kept Musar in production even as bombs struck nearby Beirut during the country’s 15-year civil war (as chronicled in GQ by Elizabeth Gilbert in 2004). Musar’s provenance is not it’s only unusual characteristic. It typically displays noticeable levels of Brettanomyces (a yeast that creates a distinct horsey smell) and volatile acidity (which creates a brightly unhinged salty-sour note). These things are usually considered outright faults, but in the case of Musar they add up to an unusually wild-tasting but excellent wine.
The (Wonderful) Effects of Age: Hochar says his wines shouldn’t be consumed before they’re 15 years old, but 2003’s fantastic weirdness is perfectly enjoyable at age 10. With notes of tomato, thyme and balsamic vinegar (from the VA) mixing with dried cherry and cinnamon, it’s a terrific example of a great red that has strong savory flavors in addition to fruit. This bottling is browner in color and brighter in flavor than the more darkly fruity 2004.
Drink It With: Daniel Boulud’s basil-crusted leg of lamb. Two of the grapes used in Musar, Carignane and Cinsaut, are typical components of southern Rhône blends, which are always a great choice with lamb.
Best Price Online: $44 at Woodland Hills Wine Company. (Find more stores.)
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