Just heard that F&W American Wine Award winning winery Cliff Lede (the 2007 Cliff Lede Sauvignon Blanc won in 2008) has gone and snapped up F&W American Wine Award winning winery Breggo Cellars (Best New Winery of the Year, 2008). Apparently Breggo co-founder Douglas Stewart will stay on as general manager and winemaker. No word on what Cliff Lede paid for Breggo, but regardless, it's nice when these things stay in the F&W family. I'm sure that had a huge influence on the deal, of course...
On a recent trip to Boston, I stayed at the adorable Beacon Hill Hotel, tucked away down Charles Street. Its 12 rooms are right above its street-level restaurant, the Bistro, which is run by Barbara Lynch alum Jason Bond. In addition to the excellent complimentary breakfast, which included vanilla pancakes and a thick French toast topped with spiced crème fraîche, chef Bond makes some of the best ice cream in town. My friend Katherine and I tasted our way through flavors like Ligurian Olive Oil and Banana Rum, but the flavor that had us coming back at midnight for a second scoop was the Chocolate Almond–Smoked Sea Salt, with a pudding-like texture and crunchy bits of cocoa nibs and toasted slivered almonds. Bond shared his secret: Valrhona Guanaha chocolate and Norwegian smoked sea salt. Thank goodness ice cream wasn't on the breakfast menu.
I just returned from a quick trip to L.A. where I had two fantastic brunches.
Gjelina in Venice makes killer scones (moist and covered in a layer of crisp sugar), pizzas (try the one with grilled radicchio, fontina, bacon and tomato confit), BLTs (on thick slices of grilled bread with a fried egg on top) and butterscotch pot de crème (with salted caramel and crème fraîche).
Tavern in Brentwood is not just a fantastic brunch spot but it's also good for lunch, dinner, cocktails and takeout, too. Try the sticky bun Suzanne-style (topped with two slices of crisp Neiman Ranch bacon!), chorizo and eggs, wild mushroom frittata, lemon-ricotta pancakes and the turkey burger. Be sure to pick up some pastries to go from the larder on your way out.
Some inspiring F&W brunch recipes:
© Cedric Angeles
More Seafood Dishes:
- 20 quick shellfish dishes like scallops with tarragon butter sauce and a shrimp and avocado salad
- 15 healthy fish dishes like spicy snapper sandwiches and monkfish in tomato-garlic sauce
© Cedric Angeles
© Robert Durrel
Michael Tusk, right, at the new Quince. The stove isn't in the picture.
Australia chef Neil Perry has had a busy year—not only did he open the spectacular Rockpool Bar & Grill, but in a subterranean space just below, he launched Spice Temple, where he serves his take on Chinese food. It’s a sexy spot, with dim lighting, a sultry red glow and portraits of gorgeous Asian women on the walls and menus. It seems out of place in sunny, laid-back Sydney, but the restaurant was packed for a Tuesday lunch a few weeks ago. (When I ran into Neil Perry later, I wasn’t surprised to hear that he’s thinking of opening another location in Los Angeles.) Dishes to try: Cool silken tofu with funky preserved eggs that are given a lively kick with a chile-inflected soy-ginger dressing. The hot-and-numbing chicken, which is poached and served cold, hits some of the same flavor notes, with the added element of lip-tingling Sichuan peppercorns.
At the new Sepia, chef Martin Benn, formerly of the venerable Tetsuya, is turning out some seriously ingenious dishes. Barbecued eel with licorice-flavored powder was such a clever combination that I wondered why I've never used anisey flavors in barbecue sauces before. Earthy buckwheat risotto became luxurious when topped with mustard butter, sweet spanner crab meat and a shellfish foam. A delicious meatless version of surf and turf.
© Jennifer Salerno
While UN dignitaries assembled in Manhattan this weekend, another group of international notables gathered at Flushing Meadows Park: NYC’s favorite street food vendors, who cooked, served and competed at the fifth annual Vendy Awards. It was a daylong tasting of the most accessibly delicious food the city has to offer, like jerk chicken from the Jamaican Dutchy (51st St. and 7th Ave. in Manhattan), run by 29-year-old O’Neill Reid, and crispy, tender falafel from Palestinian Fares Zeidaies (30th St. and Broadway in Astoria). It was like my fantasy of the perfect traveling fair. Biryani Cart owner Meru Sikder won the Grey Poupon People’s Taste Award with his ethereally light kati rolls (pictured) (a reprisal of his ’08 triumph; 46th St. and 6th Ave. in Manhattan), but the judges gave the Vendy Cup to Pueblan husband-and-wife team Yolanda and Fernando Martinez, who serve killer tacos and huaraches from their Country Boys truck at the Red Hook Ball Fields (Clinton St. and Bay St. in Brooklyn). My personal favorite, and winner of the dessert award, was Thomas DeGeest’s roving Wafels & Dinges truck. I highly recommend the Brussels wafel with a simple dollop of whipped cream.
After the two frenetic nights of Le Fooding D’Amour—this weekend's event at P.S. 1 in Long Island City celebrating the “casual” cooking of some of the hippest chefs from Paris and NYC—several questions lingered.
*Who, WSJ.com wondered, could claim success for the event, the "free-spirited French" or “street-food savvy New Yorkers?” (Diplomatically, they didn’t make the call.)
*Who had the longest of the long lines? Unofficially, I’d say Friday night it was Yves Camdeborde of Paris’s Le Comptoir, who served Henry IV chicken stew; Saturday night, the Black Label burgers from NYC’s Minetta Tavern. Both restaurants are impossible to get into for different reasons, so it makes sense that both dishes would be impossible to get to as well.
*What was the best thing to eat? As they say, it was all good, but the most buzzed-about dish was probably the burnt eggplant that garnished beef tenderloin and roast peppers and onions from Inaki Aizpitarte of Paris’s Le Chateaubriand.
*What was the best thing to drink? With all respect to French wine god Michel Chapoutier and Champagne purveyor Veuve Cliquot, it was the Moscow Mule riff from Richard Boccato of the nearby Dutch Kills bar.
*Who brought the party? Sean Rembold of Brooklyn’s Diner (who made killer fried corn with scallop butter) said: "The French. Chefs like Inaki and Christophe Pelé get crazy!” Me, I’d give that prize to Daniel Boulud, who brought a belly dancer and iPod-charged soundtrack and got her to go dance with all the chefs. (Believe me, this is much more compelling if I ever get the photo of Daniel and the belly dancer to post here.)
© David Tsay
© David Tsay
More Asian Dishes: 10 excellent Japanese dishes like hearty miso soup packed with shrimp and tofu and a mirin- and soy sauce-flavored pot roast; 15 superb Thai dishes like steamed mussels tossed in a creamy, spicy coconut-ginger sauce and bold, fiery Massaman curry with potatoes and peanuts