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Mouthing Off

By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine

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Wine

Skype with a Winemaker

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© The Grand Dalles
The Grand Dalles Dry Riesling


Over the weekend a friend was complaining about how he hates to buy wine online because he misses having someone to discuss the wine with as he's making the purchase. Scott Elder and Stephanie LaMonica, the husband-and-wife team behind the new winery The Grande Dalles in Oregon, realized other wine lovers may share my friend’s frustration, so on Cyber Monday they kicked off a “Chat with the Winemaker” promotion via Skype. They are answering questions about growing, winemaking, tasting and what foods to pair with their recently released wines. Customers must buy three bottles of wine as part of the “Holiday Chat Pack” to participate in the 10-minute Skype session.

Entertaining

Band of Outsiders Dinner Party

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marmalade

© Wired Images
Kevin West's Dewar's-spiked marmalade


The super-hip fashion label Band of Outsiders just opened a cool new design studio in Los Angeles. To christen the space, Band of Outsiders founder Scott Sternberg hosted a dinner party there last week, with cocktails from Dewar’s and food catered by F&W Best New Chefs 2009 Vinny Dotolo and Jon Shook of Animal.

Among the 100 guests who sat down to the brown-butcher-paper-covered table were actress Marisa Tomei, editor Lisa Love, model Jessica Joffe and author Bret Easton Ellis. A highlight of the night was Kevin West’s take-home gifts: The former W magazine editor turned jam obsessive, founder of West Sweet Preserves, used Dewar’s White Label to make an awesome marmalade with local Valencia oranges, Eureka lemons and Marsh grapefruits. For those not at the party, click here to order a jar.

Wine

Punta Del Este's New Food & Wine Festival

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punta

© Ariel Fernández of Southern-Press
Ambassador of USA in Uruguay, David Nelson, Gabriel Bialystocki, chef Ben Ford, and chef Toshio Tomita.


I’ve always associated Punta Del Este, on the eastern coast of Uruguay, with glamorous beaches rather than excellent food. But Gabriel Bialystocki, founder and director of Punta del Este’s first ever Food & Wine Festival, is changing that. Bialystocki has collected an impressive lineup of chefs from the US, Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay to participate in the month-long event. Each Saturday, selected chefs will host special dinners for up to 180 people. The dinners will highlight Uruguay’s local ingredients, and each dish will be paired with Uruguayan wines. Bialystocki e-mailed me an update from this past Saturday’s six-course dinner, prepared by Ben Ford of Ford’s Filling Station in Culver City, CA; Gastón Yelicich of Isla de Flores in Jose Ignacio, Uruguay; and Toshio Tomita of Nobu in New York City. Highlights: Ford’s candied fennel, preserved lemon and mascarpone risotto; Tomita’s tuna sashimi in yuzu-soy sauce with jalapeños, with a garlic puree; and Yelicich’s dulce de leche mille-feuilles with chocolate mousse and sabayon cream.

The November 27 finale will be hosted by Argentinean chef Francis Mallmann, who will cook using his trademark seven fires, and Bialystocki promises to report on all of the delicious details.

Wines $20 to $40

Thanksgiving Wine Conundrum

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Despite the fact that Thanksgiving is a mere six days away—and the fact that I’m a wine writer—it only crossed my mind yesterday that I needed to pick out some wines for Thanksgiving. My boyfriend, Michael, and I are hosting this year, and it’s just a small group—his parents, my parents and my sister. Seems easy enough to choose a wine, right? Well, once I started to think about it, not really.

See, Michael’s dad really only drinks caffeine-free diet Coke, and his mom can’t have wine. White wine gives my sister headaches; my dad’s palate tends toward Merlot and Malbec; and my mom prefers off-dry Rieslings and Gewürztraminers and (bizarrely enough) Lambrusco (she thinks she doesn’t like red wine, but we can trick her sometimes). So essentially, we’re all going in a different wine direction here.

But then there’s Michael. Michael is a cru Beaujolais fanatic, and this fanaticism will effectively solve the problem at hand (aside from, ahem, the caffeine-free diet Coke)—plus, 2009 was a knockout vintage for the region. There are ten crus or villages in Beaujolais: Brouilly, Chénas, Chiroubles, Côte de Brouilly, Fleurie, Juliénas, Morgon, Moulin à Vent, Régnié and Saint Amour. All have different flavors, aromas and balance, but each will go quite nicely with the Thanksgiving menu thanks to deep, bright fruit and terrific acidity. My sister can drink it, my dad will get the concentration that he enjoys and my mom will get the fruit-forwardness that she likes in off-dry wines (this is how we trick her into liking reds.) And Michael will be beyond happy.

I’m heading to the wine shop with hopes of finding 2009s from Marcel Lapierre, Chateau Thivin and Christophe Pacalet. Oh, and a bottle of savory Donati Lambrusco to start things off.

What’s your problem-solving wine for Thanksgiving?

Restaurants

Arsenal’s Awesome New Stadium Food

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arsenal

© Arsenal Football Club
Arsenal's new WM Club restaurant.


I am a huge sports fanatic, particularly when it comes to soccer—or, as the rest of the world refers to it, football. Usually, I find myself watching a match in a pub in London or a bodega in Barcelona, screaming at a TV screen with the locals. But this year I managed to score tickets to see Arsenal take on Newcastle United at Emirates Stadium in London (and, against all odds, lose!). The Brits have taken a few notes from the new haute food offerings at Citi Field and Yankee Stadium and opened three new restaurants and Legends, a cool sports bar with 40 TV screens, at the Club Level. Raymond Blanc protégé Oleg Ibragimov is in charge of the excellent menu at the WM Club restaurant (named for Herbert Chapman’s revolutionary 3-2-2-3 WM formation that looked like a “W” and “M” on the field). I dined pre-game and had my own personal “table concierge,” who delivered foie gras–and–pear compote with crème brûlée spoons; ham hock terrine with crispy quail’s eggs and homemade piccalilli; and Suffolk pork cheek and belly with red cabbage and crispy pork crackling. Before leaving for the start of the match, I was asked to fill out my halftime menu order. Would I like a cheese plate, wine, perhaps a beer? I checked off my menu card, and my snacks were all waiting at my table at the half. Guests can also come back post-game for Angus beef burgers, drinks and a chance to see Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger and former players mingling with the fans.

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Congratulations to Nicholas Elmi, winner of Top Chef: New Orleans, the 11th season of Bravo's Emmy-Award winning, hit reality series.

Already looking forward to next year (June 19-21, 2015)? Relive your favorite moments from the culinary world's most sensational weekend in the Rocky Mountains.