© April Williams
The 80th Major League Baseball All-Star Game
is Tuesday, July 14th in St. Louis
. I’m happy to report (in hushed tones, of course, since I live in NYC) that my hometown team, the Boston Red Sox, has six players on this year’s American League squad. Here, recipes inspired by each of them:
* Sweet bay scallops
for Jason Bay
* Little Shrimp Casseroles
for the vertically-challenged Dustin Pedroia
* A lobster knuckle sandwich
for knuckleballer Tim Wakefield
* A L’il Jig cocktail
for aspiring River Dancer Jonathan Papelbon
* Fried chicken
from Redhead tavern for the fiery-maned (or at least bearded) Kevin Youkilis (whose brother is the chef/owner of fantastic San Francisco restaurant, Maverick)
* Buckshot Gumbo
for avid hunter Josh Beckett
If you prefer a traditional ballpark frank, Danny Meyer did the work for you in a recent New York magazine taste test
to determine the best. And by the way, he thinks hot dogs pair well with Riesling
It's that time of year here in NYC where people decamp every Friday afternoon for the Hamptons, the sort of beachy destination that can either be a breezy, charming getaway or a socialite-ridden horrorshow, depending on how you play it. But no matter which you prefer, beach destinations pose that annual quandary—glassware and bare feet. Running barefoot over broken Riedels isn't my idea of fun, but drinking premier cru Chablis out of a styrofoam cup isn't either (though, given the choice, I'll take the styro-Chablis over the shredded feet).
That's why I'm fond of these nifty stemless plastic wine glasses from GoVino (see below). They're not offensive to the eye, they're easy to clean, they're recycleable (why not), and they do not contain "bisphenol-A," whatever that is. Whew. More to the point, they're convenient and they're cheap—$2.99 apiece. I mentioned them in my segment on beach-safe wines on Weekend Today a couple of weeks ago, but I thought they were worthy of a mention here as well.
Like so many chefs now obsessed with nose-to-tail cooking, Michael Psilakis offers whole pig, lamb or goat for private parties at his new Eos at the recently opened Viceroy Miami. The fun twist: Instead of turning the animals on a spit by the Viceroy's infinity pool, his chefs cook them indoors in their mammoth double-stack Rational Combi Ovens. "I love to use a spit, but it's kind of barbaric," Psilakis says; the open coals don't allow for nearly as much control over moisture and temperature as the Rational ovens. But don't expect Psilakis to offer indoor-cooked whole animals at his new Manhattan gastropub Gus & Gabriel or at his New York City flagship, Anthos. His New York kitchens, he says, just don't have the room.
Click here for Psilakis' Grilled Pork Tenderloin; For more recipes from Psilakis, look for his forthcoming cookbook, How to Roast a Lamb (on shelves in October), in which he shares his vivid memories of slaughtering goats for spit-roasting as a kid in suburban Long Island.
© F&W Test Kitchen
Joy Manning's Ratatouille Burger.
In F&W's August Well-Being column, restaurant critic and blogger Joy Manning (WhatIWeighToday.com
) shares a few of the healthy recipes she makes when she’s eating at home. Her terrific ratatouille
burger, sadly, did not make it into the issue, but it's definitely worth making: The burger is a clever way to use prolific summer vegetables, like zucchini and eggplant. I often find veggie burgers a bit mushy, but in her typical Almost Meatless
approach, Joy uses a little bit of ground turkey to give the patty a nice texture .
© Peter Lindberg
Pine buds, served tableside at El Bulli
As I blogged yesterday, a lot
has been written about El Bulli, the world's most famous restaurant, in Roses, Spain. So no one needs a play-by-play of my six-hour meal. But, besides the dishes you might have heard of (Parmesan frozen air, spherical olives) and some that you might not have (the outstanding "pond" dessert, a paper-thin sheet of ice sprinkled with brown sugar and basil that you crack into shards and eat), the most fascinating things I tasted were the supersimple, plant-based ones. Anya von Bremzen,
expert in all things Spanish, had alerted me that botanicals were a big trend among top European chefs; sure enough, El Bulli chef Ferran Adrià
was right there. Among the amazing botanicals he offered: ultra-tender, honey-soaked pine buds (above, in their little pots before they're snipped tableside); an oyster leaf sprinkled with vinegar and minced shallot that tasted almost exactly like a minerally, mignonette-splashed oyster; and a dish called "flower nectar," a little local purple flower filled with a ridiculously sweet and fruity nectar ("what it's like to be a hummingbird," said my friend Ken). No one could tell me anything more about the flower, otherwise I would have marched into the hills to get some more before course # 11 arrived—a frozen rose flavored with cassis and tequila.
The best part about researching F&W’s August ice cream roundup was tasting stellar ice creams and sorbets from shops across the country. Here, four of our favorite regional producers:
Carmela Ice Cream: Los Angeles–based Carmela makes bright, fresh-flavored Lavender Honey ice cream and Lemon Basil sorbet with fruit and herbs from Silver Lake Farms, a local organic farm. A three-ounce “taster” is the perfect summer pick-me-up.
Morelli’s Ice Cream: Some of Donald Sargent’s best ideas have come from his customers at this Atlanta shop, including a spiced East Indian Mango Kulfi. His motto: “If it’s a cake or pie, we’ll throw it into ice cream.” Don’t miss Sargent’s Sweet Potato pie ice cream, made with his mother’s top-secret pie recipe.
Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice Cream: Molly Moon Neitzel recently opened Seattle’s second Molly Moon’s, where her ice creams—made with locally sourced milk and beet sugar—await a mess of house-made toppings: double-fudge chocolate sauce, balsamic reduction and seasonal fruit compotes like rhubarb-grapefruit.
Cool Moon Ice Cream: Memories of family gatherings around a hand-crank White Mountain ice cream maker inspired Eva Bernhard to open her Portland, Oregon, shop. Flavors like Buttermilk Marionberry Swirl, made with local blackberries, and Willamette Valley Hazelnut celebrate iconic Oregon ingredients.
Dear Mr. Larry Bell,
Perhaps it may seem that everything a person could ever want is here for the buying in New York City, but you and I both know that that is not the case. What New York lacks is a supply of beer from Bell's Brewery. While I would be thrilled to see even one of your brews in my bodega's refrigerator, this time of year it's Oberon-that wheat beer embodiment of summertime-that I yearn for the most.
This yearning is especially strong after having spent the July 4th holiday weekend in northern Michigan, where the Oberon flowed by bottle and pint. The highlight of my summer thus far was a pitcher of that hazy orange-scented Oberon on the patio at Art's Tavern in Glen Arbor accompanied by both burgers and friends. I would like to recreate that moment on balconies across New York-to share with the unlucky bunch that has not yet sipped anything from Bell's.
I've heard rumors that the reason we don't have access to your beers is because you're not keen on this city, but our craft beer-loving residents would be thrilled to welcome you (or, more specifically, your Oberon) with chilled glasses and orange slice garnishes.
What do you say?
Chef George Mendes, a Bouley alum, has been getting much deserved praise for his new NYC restaurant, the Portuguese-Spanish Aldea. A few highlights from a recent visit:
1. The best seats in the Stephanie Goto–designed space are at the chef’s bar in front of the open kitchen. My friend and I snagged two and immediately recognized the female chef on Mendes's team who has been compared to a Vermeer portrait. Every 15 minutes a new group of Portuguese diners lined up to thank Mendes for making avant-garde food that still somehow reminded them of their grandparents’ cooking.
2. Mendes serves Pennsylvania baby goat three ways—braised, grilled and confit—alongside toasted buckwheat, chanterelles and pickled cherries. The meat was so tender and delicious it made me wonder if goat may soon trump pig on menus.
3. Critic Alan Richman says the sonhos at Aldea are in the running for Manhattan’s best mini doughnut; I second that. The tiny fried balls of dough—filled with spiced chocolate, smoked-paprika apricot jam or hazelnut praline—are made according to Mendes’s mom’s recipe. She’s been known to make an appearance in the kitchen to make sure he’s not taking too many liberties.
4. The staff pointed out a hysterical error on a bottle of Viñendo de los Vientos’ Alcyone Tannat dessert wine from Uruguay. Alcyone, the label reads, is “the goddess of ‘clam’ and tranquility.”
There aren't any of Southwest Airlines'
famous rapping flight attendants
at The Southwest Porch
, the airline-sponsored pop-up dining patio in New York City's Bryant Park
. Instead, there are some great new sandwiches from 'wichcraft,
the popular Bryant Park kiosk that's part of the Craft
family of restaurants.
“We thought it'd be fun to do interpretations of iconic foods from each city on Southwest Airlines' new flight routes from New York,” says Sisha Ortúza, 'wichcraft's chef and co-owner (with star chef Tom Colicchio). Ortúzar came up with a menu that includes an NYC meatball parm sub, a Chicago bratwurst with sweet sautéed onions and (my favorite) a Baltimore soft-shell-crab sandwich with watercress and a tartar sauce made with lemon aioli and house-made pickles.
Now if only Southwest would offer the sandwiches on their flights, I might be inspired to bust a rhyme—although a couple of the ginger margaritas at The Southwest Porch might do the trick.
I thought I knew almost everything I needed to about El Bulli
and its legendary chef, Ferran Adrià
. The world's best restaurant, located in Roses, Spain
, is about 1 1/2 hours northeast of Barcelona, if you're driving fast (and you are). Still, there's always something to learn, and here's what I found out (besides that it's impossible to add two extra people to a reservation last minute no matter what famous band name you're dropping).
* Arrive early. Adrià's good friend, star Spanish chef José Andrés, recommends going to the adjoining beach before dinner to watch the sunset. Which is nice in theory but tricky if you're wearing high heels. Alternately, sit on El Bulli's lovely patio and have a pre-dinner G&T made with small-batch gin and deoxygenated ice cubes.
* Don't just drink Champagne. Insiders recommend sticking with bubbles for the course of the meal, since the dishes range from "rabbit ear crunchy" to Gorgonzola mochi to prawns that are simultaneously sashimi and tempura. But the wine list is extensive, and the sommeliers are terrific. We loved Freddy, whose real name is Ferran but who had to change it because the other Ferran didn't want to change his. My colleague at Travel + Leisure, Nilou Motamed, has more details on this and on our favorite wine, 2008 Plou I Fa Sol, in her excellent slide show.
* Stay overnight in Roses. Obviously, it makes life easier than if you try to drive back to Barcelona after dinner, given how much you drink during the 30-odd-course meal (a lot). But the town is also very pretty and gives you a useful context for El Bulli's food, which has a lot more to do with local ingredients than I ever would have thought.