© Peter Lindberg
Pine buds, served tableside at El Bulli
© Peter Lindberg
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.”
© Diane Bondareff
“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.
© Peter Lindberg
* 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.
I wound up on the CBS Early Show on July 4th, talking about beers for Independence Day. That, to my mind, meant craft beers brewed in America, as a kind of celebration of our country's history of small-business entrepreneurship and also as a celebration of the abundance of terrific beer being produced in the U.S. right now. Beer-fanatics will notice that I mostly picked bottles from the larger brewers on the craft side—Sam Adams, Sierra Nevada, Anchor Brewing, and so on. I'd love to have included some of my more regional faves, like Tröegs Brewery in Harrisburg, PA (big fan of their Troegenator Double Bock), Two Brothers Brewing in Warrenville, IL (Domaine DuPage French Country Ale—mighty good); Saint Arnold Brewing in Houston (look for the Elissa IPA), or Avery Brewing in Boulder (drink anything they make, seriously), but TV tends to want national—or near national—distribution, so I erred on the side of findability.
Anyway, here's a link to the segment on the CBS site. They don't seem to have the video up, but the content is there at least. They also left out the part where they had the anchors run a three-legged race while balancing raw eggs on spoons, with me standing at the finish line to hand the winner a beer. Really.
© Wendell T. Webber
Chestnut steadily kept his lead over his archrival, Takeru Kobayashi, the 2001-2006 world champion, who finished with a 64 dog-count. The two men tied at 59 wieners last year until Chestnut won a dramatic five hot-dog eat-off.
If you're not eating dozens at a time, try these modern takes on the classic summer dog, from the F&W archive:
Bacon Wrapped Hot Dogs with Avocado (pictured)
Crosshatch Hot Dogs on Grilled Croissants
Sausages with Grilled Onion Chowchow
OR these 7 amazing sausage recipes.
The recent obsession with learning to butcher and cooking an entire animal from snout to tail meant that my Fourth of July weekend was packed with pig-roast invitations, rather than the typical burger-and-beer barbecues of years past. When my friend Tiffany introduced the idea of hosting a pig roast to her husband, Santi, she assumed they would have the event catered. But, ever resourceful, Santi Googled "pig roast" and landed at a site called Three Guys From Miami, which provided instructions for a Cuban-style DIY pig roast. Santi followed the directions to construct his own roaster (now a fixture in the backyard), ordered a 55-pound hog from his local butcher and spent the night massaging the pig with his own special rub. I was skeptical, but after the pig cooked for six hours over indirect heat, we had a delicious feast for the Fourth.
*Tortilla at Cal Pep. People seriously line up for one of the 20 seats at this iconic tapas bar. The seafood is invariably great (I worshipped the thumbnail-size clams called tallarines in parsley-garlic oil) but what will change your life is the individual tortilla, made with a little egg, a fair amount of sliced potato and a ton of chorizo and chorizo oil, with garlicky aioli on top. (I waited a good hour for a second chance to have one and it was worth every long minute.)
*Patatas Bravas at Inopia. Albert Adria (you know who his brother is) opened this amazing tapas spot (above) in 2006. Everything about it is fantastic from the supercute staff to the canned anchovy section on the menu. (The atmosphere is great, too—this is the place that U2's private chefs choose to hang out in; in fact, they'll close the place down.) The just-seared tuna escabeche is delicious; if I could eat just one thing there, though, it would be the ubiquitous crispy home-fried potatoes, topped with homemade hot sauce and a dollop of aioli.
*Homemade Macaroni in Parmesan Cream at Fonda Gaig. I know, it seems like the very last thing you should eat in summer in Barcelona is baked pasta. But at this modern Catalan brasserie, chef Charles Gaig serves outstanding large tubular pasta with wonderfully sweet tomato sauce and Parmesan cream. I was brave and starving enough to try it and it was just awesome.