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Mouthing Off

By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine


Chefs' Marathon Highs (and Lows)


After running my first New York City Marathon last Sunday, I’ve been swapping marathon highs and lows with fellow food-world runners. I had a freakishly great race and crossed the finish line in three hours and 21 minutes, with my only low being post-race muscle pain  (I’ve been recovering with a marathon week of eating and drinking). Others weren’t as lucky. Daniel Humm of NYC’s Eleven Madison Park had to pull out of the race due to a stress fracture. Here, some other tales from marathon newbies and vets:

Bobby Stuckey, sommelier of Frasca Food and Wine in Boulder, CO
Stuckey, an insanely speedy runner,  hit up L’Artusi the Friday night before the race and was spotted eating at Marea on marathon eve.
Low: “Mile 23. My world just got really small and I knew that I needed to dig deep.”
High: “Looking up at the JumboTron and seeing an American wine almost brought me to tears.”
Finishing Time: 2:47:23

Joe Campanale, co-owner and sommelier of L’Artusi and Dell’anima, NYC
Not only did Campanale lose 15 pounds and three toenails while training, he also raised almost $14,000 for his charity, Team Hole in the Wall Gang.
Low: “I had a stomach virus that stayed with me for pretty much the whole race.”
High: “Coming off the 59th Street Bridge and running up 1st Avenue feels like walking onto the field in the middle of the World Series."  
Time: 4:49:29

Chef Olivier Muller, DB Bistro Moderne, NYC
The marathon newbie raised $12,000 for the charity Malaria No More.
Low: “At mile 22 I had a huge cramp. My left leg just stopped mid-stride.”
High: “After the race I had 15 friends waiting at my apartment to celebrate. We ate cheeses, charcuterie, beef short ribs, coq au vin and spaetzle and washed it down with red wine.”
Time: 3:38:57

Joe Bastianich, restaurateur and winemaker
After losing an astonishing amount of weight by running, Bastianich has become a marathon regular.
Low: “Running on Fifth Ave up the hill that you never knew existed, passing by the homes of every rich person in New York.”
High: “Floating over the Verrazano Bridge on pure adrenaline.”  
Time: 3:42:36


Breaking News: Bar Boulud, London


Drum roll…Daniel Boulud is headed to London and not just for vacation. He's opening a branch of NYC's Bar Boulud in my favorite London hotel, the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park. The menu: bistro, featuring Boulud's terrific terrines and homey French classics. The charcuterie: courtesy of Gilles Verot, who's been called the Pierre Hermé of cured meats. The designer: Adam Tihany, who included a charcuterie bar for Verot's specialties. The design: referencing French winemaking, with vintage oak floors (think wine barrels) and deep-red leather banquettes (think Burgundy red wine). The wine list: focusing on Burgundy and the Rhône Valley, but yes, there will be Old World wines too. The opening date: spring 2010.


Early Look: Maialino


© kate krader
Chef Nick Anderer, right, gets ready to try some pasta at Maialino.

Boy is it exciting to walk past the construction workers and into Maialino, Danny Meyer’s about-to-open Roman trattoria in Manhattan’s Gramercy Park Hotel. First you see the gorgeous burnt-yellow tiled floors (based on a design at the Pantheon). Then you see the long Bar Maialino (in the a.m., it’s for stand-up consumption of espressos and house-baked pastries; the rest of the day, it’s for small plates). Opposite is the marble salumi bar. In the Trattoria, a.k.a. the dining room, tables are topped with blue-and-white-checked cloths and walls are lined with reclaimed wood from the Pantheon (kidding—it's from barns in New Jersey). And let’s note that Rockwell Group reclaimed the wood and designed the place.

In the kitchen, chef Nick Anderer is testing the menu, including stracciatella alla romana (Italian egg drop soup), braised artichokes, divine house-cured salt cod fritters and cacio e pepe ("salt and pepper") made with hand-cut tonnarelli pasta. Me, I loved it. But Anderer and Union Square Cafe’s überchef Michael Romano—who was there in a chef's jacket—thought the pasta could be less chewy, the sauce creamier. So, will Anderer try to recreate the pasta setup at Babbo, where he used to work and where Bill Buford tagged him as "the pasta guy" in his book Heat? “Absolutely not. It’s amazing there, but no.”


St. Francis in Phoenix


st. francis

© Christopher Downs
St. Francis restaurant in Phoenix.

I recently came back from Phoenix, where everyone is buzzing about a new restaurant called St. Francis. Chef-owner Aaron Chamberlin (who trained with Michel Richard, Jean-Georges Vongerichten and Nancy Oakes) spent nearly three years searching for the perfect spot, finally buying and renovating a midcentury Harold Ekman building on Camelback Road. With the help of his dad and brother, he’s created a hip, industrial-style space with a two-story, window-faced garage door that opens the bar to the outside. There are homey touches, too; his grandmother's old silver spoons are embedded in the stone walls and chairs from San Francisco's old Rubicon restaurant space. There's also an enormous wood-burning stove. The affordable menu balances healthy dishes, like the sweet-and-spicy Forbidden Rice Bowl, with decadent ones, like a French Onion Burger topped with an onion ring, smoked bacon, Gruyère and homemade French Dip. With Pizzeria Bianco just a few blocks away, uptown Phoenix may be Arizona’s next cool food 'hood.


© Christopher Downs
Chef Aaron Chamberlin.


Kogi’s New Mobile Kitchen


Even though I live in NYC, I obsessively follow the L.A.-based Kogi Korean taco truck on Twitter (more on that in our "10 Best Restaurant Dishes 2009" story in the upcoming December issue). Now I have to figure out how to also keep track of their newest toy: the bright orange Scion Kogi xD Mobile Kitchen made just for Kogi by Toyota. It’s fully loaded in the back with a grill, sink and special grilling-tools compartment (and don’t forget the Alpine sound system). Kogi co-founder Roy Choi promised I could ride shotgun next time I go to L.A. Meanwhile, I’ll keep watching the YouTube video inside the mobile kitchen, including a demo of Kogi’s newest, killer-sounding dish, Silver Peso Pancakes made with Korean flat chives and sesame oil/leaf/seeds, with their special chile vinaigrette.

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