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Mouthing Off

By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine


Olympic Update: Tojo's Olympic Roll


© Amy Rosen

The New York Times's new dining critic, Sam Sifton, recently likened Vancouver master sushi chef Hidekazu Tojo's cooking to that of Nobu Matsuhisa and the kung-fu style known as “drunken master” (by this he meant that Tojo's casualness disguises great skill). Perched on my bar seat at Tojo's recently, I saw what he meant. For the Olympic roll—his interpretation of the Olympic rings, which he's named the Celebration 2010 roll—Tojo wrapped layers of egg, wild salmon, snapper and spinach around Dungeness crab, pineapple and asparagus. For the blue ring, he prepared a blueberry sauce. Admittedly, it sounds like a kitchen-sink calamity, but it was delicious. Other dishes I loved: West Coast albacore sashimi topped with grated daikon, fresh ginger, purple radish sprouts and green onion, and delicate smoked Canadian sablefish with pine mushrooms and burdock in a warm, umami-packed broth. 1133 West Broadway; 604-872-8050 or tojos.com.


Italian-American Coffee & Cake


Ed Levine’s review on Serious Eats of NYC's new Torrisi Italian Specialties left me chuckling. To accompany a slideshow of chef-owners Rich Torrisi and Mario Carbone’s Italian-American sandwiches, antipasti and desserts, Levine wrote this: “What’s a delicious, moist sour cream coffee cake doing on an Italian sandwich shop menu?” Clearly, Levine doesn’t know everything about Italian-American customs. Until very recently, my own Italian-American family observed the Sunday-afternoon tradition of coffee and cake; we called it simply “Coffee and." My grandmother and her sisters and their husbands gathered at 2:30 p.m., put the coffee on (always in an aluminum percolator) and talked. Same thing every week. Most weekends, my aunt Anna made her famous chocolate sheet cake, which she dusted with powdered sugar and served with whipped cream.

Here, four F&W recipes perfect for "Coffee and."

Olive Oil Bundt Cake

Honey Tea Cake

Jacques Pépin’s Favorite Pound Cake

Cardamom Spiced Crumb Cake


A New Use For Thyme


© Tina Rupp

Now that we're several snowstorms deep into winter, and signs of life from my fire-escape herb garden ended long ago, I like to use my stash of dried herbs for a dose of flavor. A favorite use for thyme is this supereasy and fragrant chicken dish (pictured). But according to a recent New York Times piece, there's another new use for thyme in the kitchen: as a cleanser. Seventh Generation just launched a new line of disinfecting sprays and wipes made with thymol (a component of thyme oil).


Back at Manhattan's El Quinto Pino


A light fixture gets in the way of El Quinto Pino's new menu

I didn’t realize how much I missed El Quinto Pino—the superlative Chelsea tapas bar launched by wife-and-husband team Alex Raij and Eder Montero—until I went back the other night. Back too are Raij and Montero, who got the place after giving up ownership of their other tapas bar, Tía Pol (let's not go into any lawsuit details here). The couple, who also own the Basque spot Txikito across the street, did minor renovations to warm the place up, including adding a few more tables (yay). They also changed almost all the dishes and added a rotating “turistico” menu. “The turistico menu will stop in different regions of Spain; the first stop is Galicia,” says Raij. Those Galician dishes are pretty delicious, including calda gallejo made with cross-cut spare ribs with pig head and chorizo, plus cannellini beans and turnip greens (“three or four kinds of pork, always,” says Raij). EQP’s basic menu includes mostly new items too, like crispy lamb intestines with pungent chile-garlic vinegar. But don’t worry, EQP’s celebrated uni panini is still there, at the top of the menu. And the crowd that night included my new favorites, the team from Torrisi Italian Specialties.


The Conrad Maldives’ Underwater Suite



© Conrad Hotels
A suite under the sea.

Six years ago, the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island resort could lay claim to the hottest table in the Maldives when it opened Ithaa, a restaurant 16 feet below sea level. If dining inside what is virtually an aquarium isn’t cool enough, the resort is now giving guests the option to sleep with the fishes in its new Ithaa Underwater Suite. The all-glass suite can only be booked for one night at a time, and guests can get everything from room service to a massage upon request.

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