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Mouthing Off

By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine


Early Look: Má Pêche Beef Seven Ways


© Ben Leventhal
Má Pêche's cote de bouef extravaganza.

No, I didn’t need another reason to sit down at a Momofuku restaurant. But I got one anyway now that Má Pêche, the new David Chang-owned restaurant in midtown Manhattan, is launching its answer to Ssäm Bar’s bo ssäm and Noodle Bar’s fried chicken party platters. In fact, chef Tien Ho has picked a whole new protein—beef—which he’s serving seven ways. (Let’s note that Ho’s commitment to quality beef is so strong that he picks seven different kinds of beef—from Creekstone in Kansas to Four Story Hill Farm in Pennsylvania—for the Vietnamese-style feast.)

Course 1: Tongue salad with spinach, basil and a sweet-tangy plum vinaigrette, plus just-seared wagyu with a version of Momofuku’s signature ginger-scallion dressing.

Course 2: An over-the-top platter of ridiculous côte de boeuf and chunks of lemongrass-and-Thai-basil beef sausage. (Here’s where you’ll see Momofuku’s first-ever steak knives.) There’s a circus of accompaniments, including lettuce leaves, pickled vegetables, fried garlic and shallots and a key bottle of fish-sauce vinaigrette.

Course 3: A monster beef shank braised with crab paste and chiles, served with soy- and sherry-infused oxtails. The accompaniments stay on the table, so you can eat a hunk of beef shank by itself or wrap it up in lettuce with whatever else you want.

Course 4: A dainty cup of full-flavor beef bouillon with herbs and lime.

Super-Bonus Course 5: A round of perfectly ripe Époisses cheese, which is served dripping off spoons with a perfectly warm baguette.

NBC’s Feast has even more details and photos.


Santiago Restaurants: Part I


© Joshua David Stein
The A Team at Santiago's Fuente Alemana

I’m just back from Santiago, Chile, where I did an embarrassingly minimal amount of eating around. So here, with more coming over the next few days, are my highlights from the handful of places I went over a 48-hour period. (That included Mother’s Day Sunday, which a local told us translated as “the Most Boring Day.”  I think he was kidding.)
Fuente Alemana
Santiago’s epic sandwich shop has a fantastic old-school environment (the waitresses/cooks dress like old-world maids). Yes, everyone loves the lomito (sliced pork loin in gravy that you can get with sauerkraut, tomatoes and more mayonnaise than you would dare to dream about). But my favorite item off the short menu was the rumano, a fantastic, garlicky beef-pork burger with crushed avocado topping, plus a crazy amount of mayonnaise. At lunchtime the place is packed with businessmen; you can call it Santiago's answer to Shake Shack but I prefer to think of it as their DB Bistro Moderne. I just wish they had a branch in the States; that way we could have included it in our lunch roundup in the May issue of F&W.
Ave. Pedro de Valdivia, 210; 011-56-2-233-4705.

More of my picks to come, including one that involves Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations and cow’s hoofs.

Wines Above $40

Great Unknown Pinot Noir


Well, I shouldn't really say "unknown," because Woodenhead's wines are known to some people at least—but they ought to be known to more. I've thought this for some time, and the thought came at me again a while back when I was at the annual Pigs & Pinot event in Healdsburg, CA, that Charlie Palmer puts on. I was there as a judge for the Pinot Cup—a blind tasting of fifty Pinot Noirs from all over the world—and when our top choice was revealed to us, I was both pleasantly surprised and not that surprised at all.

© Charlie Gesell
Woodenhead's Winning Wine

The winning wine—against some extremely tough competition—was the 2007 Woodenhead Buena Terra Vineyard Pinot Noir ($60), a silky, seamless combination of sweet cherry and tangy raspberry notes, with a hint of cola and a light gaminess. It's sourced from a vineyard on Eastside Road across from Rochioli (which in Pinot-land is pretty much Park Avenue), and was made, as all the Woodenhead wines are, by Nikolai Stez.

Nick started off as cellarmaster at Williams Selyem during the early days of that winery, and has kept contact with original owner Burt Williams—in fact, buys fruit from Williams' Morning Dew Ranch vineyard for another terrific Pinot. The 2007 Woodenhead Morning Dew Ranch Vineyard Pinot Noir lures you in with a fragrant spice note, resolving into graceful spiced berry flavors and a tangy fresh-orange acidity.

Finally, also worth looking into is the 2007 Woodenhead Humboldt County Pinot Noir ($42), about which I seem to have written "like a twisted wire of smoky herbal notes running through sweet raspberry, then crisp at the end." Evidently I was getting alarmingly poetic at that point in my tasting. Regardless, the vines this wine came from were apparently pulled out after this vintage, so this is the last of it to be had.

Woodenhead's wines are not easy to find in stores, since production is small, but they can be ordered directly from the winery (or bought from their tasting room, an extremely pleasant place where you can also chat with Nick and Zina Bower, his partner in both the winery and life). And that Pinot Cup-winning wine is still available, I believe.



Fergus Henderson’s Hotel Project



© Laurie Fletcher
Chef-hotelier Fergus Henderson

Legendary nose-to-tail genius Fergus Henderson of London’s St. John and St. John Bread and Wine quietly snuck into town last week with his wife, Margot (also a chef and the owner of the fabulous London café Rochelle Canteen. In between cooking lunch at Barbuto with Jonathan Waxman and helping Margot prepare a dinner at the Artist Space on Saturday night, Fergus and his partner Trevor Gulliver sat down with me at the Breslin to share details about their newest project, the St. John Hotel, which will open this September in London’s still-seedy Chinatown neighborhood. Here, a few teasers:

1. Even though there are only 15 rooms, Fergus assures there will be nothing boutiquey about the hotel. “It will be a not-too-shiny inn,” he says, “because really, we don’t do shiny. No piles of cushions or throws on the beds. Nothing too fancy. I’m calling it a miniature, grand urban hut.”
2. The hotel’s 70-cover restaurant will give Fergus his first real chance to experiment with breakfast. “I’m thinking deviled kidneys, blood sausage and cheeky buttery buns,” he says.
3. The restaurant will serve a very special afternoon tea and “elevenses” (the Brits’ midday snack). “I think everyone can use a glass of Madeira and a sweet cake at 11 a.m.” says Fergus.
4. He says that the ceiling of the bar will look like the belly of a blue whale. The bar will be open and serving food until 2 a.m. and will have a great mix of French wines, craft beers from Meantime Brewing and a nice selection of eaux-de-vie and digestifs.


Dogfish Head Brewery’s New Syrups



© Dogfish Head Brewery
Dogfish Head Brewery's new maple syrups.

Usually when Dogfish Head Brewery’s founder Sam Calagione drops me a note it's to share details about his latest brewing innovation or some radical new beer. But he surprised me (as he usually does) with his newest release, an artisanal, naturally-spiced maple syrup. Calagione has been using maple syrup harvested from his family’s western Massachusetts farm in Dogfish Head’s original might put something in here like "beers like" - wasn't clear to me until i got to IPA that these were beers. Immort Ale, 75 Minute IPA and Life & Limb. He’s now working with Ripley Farm Sugarhouse to make small batches of exotic maple syrups that echo the flavors of some of Dogfish Head’s best brews (the Immort maple syrup has been simmered with organic juniper berries and Madagascar vanilla beans for a sweet and sticky riff on Dogfish Head's Immort Ale. There’s also one modeled after Dogfish Head’s Belgian-style wit beer, flavored with organic orange peel and coriander. The syrups will be sold on Dogfish Head Brewery's website and at the Rehoboth, Delaware, brewery starting May 19. The syrups are lovely on pancakes but even more fantastic drizzled on vanilla ice cream.  

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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.