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Mouthing Off

By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine


Food & Wine Exclusive: First Look at Michael Voltaggio's ink.


© kate krader
The logo.

Here it is: For those of us who can't even wait for Michael Voltaggio's restaurant ink. to open on Melrose in Los Angeles, this is the official logo. You'll see it echoed in the splashes of dark 'ink' on the gray granite floor, on the signature on the back of his custom-made plates (designed to jibe with the look of the room; you can't tell it used to be the Hamasaku space) and, of course, in his modern L.A. menu.

I'm so excited.


A Restaurant Worth Skiing to Italy For



© Jen Murphy
Stunning views from Chalet Etoile.

On my recent ski trip to Zermatt, our days were largely planned around where we’d be eating lunch on the slopes. A separate ski pass allowed us to cross the border into Italy, where we could ski around the resort of Cervinia. Everyone in town told us to call ahead and make reservations for Chalet Etoile, located on a blue run above Plan Maison. The bombshell Swedish chef, Ulla di Frassy, and her Italian husband ride up the mountains on snowmobiles at 5 a.m. each morning to start prepping for the lunch crowds. The always-changing, rustic Italian menu featured outstanding specials like grilled lobster and spaghetti, a dish of three grilled meats (mountain goat included), Flintstones-size spareribs and a lovely artichoke pappardelle. If the sun is out, the large deck has spectacular mountain views, and speakers blare Abba songs. The warm Bombardino drink doubles as dessert and is deceptively potent: a mix of advocaat—a creamy yellow liqueur made from egg yolks, sugar, brandy and vanilla—and whiskey. I probably would have gone for the towering tiramisù instead, had I known our waitress was going to give us extra-large shots of Etoile’s homemade grappa as a parting gift to keep us warm on our trip back to Switzerland.


F&W Exclusive: Menu Highlights at Animal's Son of a Gun


© kate krader
Hugh Hefner with a Prize Marlin Decorates Son of a Gun's Bathroom.

Let's go over some frequently asked questions about the upcoming Son of a Gun restaurant from the epic chef team Vinny Dotolo and Jon Shook (with Animal chef Frank Anderson running day to day operations).

What's going to be on the menu?
For a start, the boys are thinking:

Sardines a la plancha with oyster plant, citron, sorrel
Santa Barbara prawns with plum mustard butter, radish
Baked clams "mafia style"
Geoduck, cilantro salsa verde, mandarin
Uni, carrot,  nettle curry vinaigrette, apple
Bottarga taramasalata
Fried chicken inspired by Chick-fil-A and Bakesale Betty
Pimento cheese fries

What's up with the name Son of a Gun?
Says Dotolo:  "On boats, the space between the guns was used as a semi-private place for trysts with prostitutes and wives, which sometimes led to the birth of children with disputed parentage. Another claim is that the origin the term resulted from firing a ship's guns to hasten a difficult birth."

What's the seating situation?
Both reservation and walk ins for the big communal table. Wait until you see the banquette tucked right into the window.


The Ultimate Ski Destination for Foodies


zum see

© Jen Murphy
The mille-feuille at Zum See.

There are two things I love about skiing in Europe: One, the sheer size of the mountains and endless possibilities for going off-piste. Two, the Europeans’ leisurely on-mountain afternoons which include a two-hour lunch and, if the sun’s out, sunbathing in lounge chairs on the deck. I recently got back from an outrageously delicious week in Zermatt, Switzerland, where I ate at some of the world’s top slope-side restaurants. Here, some of our best meals from the slopes:

Zum See Midway down the slope from Furi to Zermatt is a blue sign for this 70-seat restaurant that’s been run for more than 20 years by Max and Greti Mennig. Their son Markus and his girlfriend Marion are often there, bringing out food from the tiny kitchen. A cord has been strung above the tables so skiers can hang their helmets while they eat Swiss beef carpaccio, calf’s liver rösti or homemade pastas. Greti is responsible for the Italian- and French-focused wine list, and Markus makes the restaurant’s popular mille-feuille, a decadent puff pastry layered with cream (It's so good that many skiers stop in just for a slice).

Bergrestaurant Blatten Located just a bit farther down the slope from Zum See, this tiny restaurant in a charming wooden chalet is a favorite amongst the local mountain guides. The husband-and-wife owners met while summiting the Matterhorn, and their kids help run the place. The wild mushroom soup in a puff pastry shell is a must-order.

Chez Vrony This farmhouse-turned-restaurant is run by the parents of the quirky artist Heinz Julen, and is located on the Sunnegga side of the mountain. Not only does the family make its own sausages and cheeses, but they also raise, slaughter and butcher their own grass-fed cattle. All of the risotto dishes are ridiculously good, particularly one studded with cèpes and white truffle shavings.

Adler Hitta Also on the Sunnegga side of the mountain, this restaurant may have the most spectacular views of the Matterhorn from its deck. We ended up here twice for lunch. A large oven had a spit roasting chickens for a special one day, and my friends got a kick out of the “pasta for men” dish which was a simple spaghetti with pepperoni, salt and pepper and olive oil.

My favorite slope-side lunch required us to ski over to Italy, which we did twice because the food was so good. More on that tomorrow.


Food & Wine Exclusive: Animal's New Restaurant Son of a Gun


© Nigel Parry

Let's get some facts straight about the new restaurant from two of our awesome F&W Best New Chefs, Vinny Dotolo and Jon Shook.

*It will be called Son of a Gun (cute story involving gun racks and prostitutes).
*The menu will be seafood. Look for versions of baked clams and lobster rolls; also look for funkier items like fish collars and halibut “feathers” from Animal chef Frank Anderson, who will oversee the SOG kitchen.

© kate krader
A nautical wall at Son of a Gun restaurant.


*Look for amazing Walton Ford art on the walls (it helps to know Benedikt Taschen). It will be juxtaposed with items, like inscribed life buoys, from Dotolo's grandfather's boat, Big Daddy. And fantastic old photos of a young Hugh Hefner holding up a giant marlin (men's room) and Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart with their own prize catch (women's room)
*Look for awesome cocktails from Lindsay Nader, deputy editor of F&W's forthcoming Cocktails 2011.
*Look for SOG to open in the next month for dinner; and for lunch a little bit later.

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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.