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Shirako (Cod Milt) Season

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© Alessandra Bulow
Shirako (Cod Milt) Sashimi

The morning after a recent menu tasting at Brooklyn, New York’s Zenkichi restaurant, I woke up with a belly full of shirako cod milt (a.k.a. cod sperm) and no regrets. Available only in winter months, shirako is considered a delicacy in Japan and can be eaten raw or cooked.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t initially freaked out when a small bowl of glistening shirako sashimi (pictured, left) was placed in front of me, but I resolved not to be so squeamish when I saw two brawny guys, both former college football players, dig in without hesitation. Topped with thinly sliced scallions and a drizzle of ponzu sauce, the sashimi was slightly sweet and vaguely briny with a smooth custard-like texture that resembled brains.

Then the waiters brought out delicious, lacy clusters of a tempura combining creamy cod milt and crispy green chrysanthemum leaves, topped with a sprinkle of green-tea salt (pictured, below).

Now I’m thinking about going back to Zenkichi for more shirako before the season ends–and I might even bring a friend with me.

© Alessandra Bulow
Shirako (Cod Milt) Tempura

 

Restaurants

AC/BT: Locanda Verde’s Black Truffle Dinner

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© kate krader
Locanda's Ahiram Malveau in His AC/BT Back in Black t-shirt.

Let’s count the reasons why it was awesome to go to the black truffle dinner at Locanda Verde in downtown Manhattan last night (a.k.a. AC/BT, AC for chef Andrew Carmellini). 1) Carmellini's three-course dinner was just $50. 2) It featured black truffles from Primizie Foods’ John Magazino. 3) Reservations sold out within an hour (a haiku won an Eater reader a prime-time res). 4) Among the excellent first courses: oxtail minestrone with foie gras ravioli and truffles and three kinds of truffled crostini; the main course squab came with a terrific truffled duck meatball. 5) Even the desserts included black truffles, our favorite being the black-truffle-filled walnut tart. 6) You could still order off the regular menu. We had sheep’s milk ricotta with our truffled appetizers; the table next to ours had it as a cheese course. 7) The AC/BT Back in Black T-shirts worn by the staff were amazing. And in such high demand that I would suggest that management turn the restaurant's bakery counter into a T-shirt concession stand. 8) Twenty-five percent of the profits from AC/BT went to Doctors Without Borders for Haitian Relief. 9) The after-party was at Boom Boom Room.

Wines Above $40

Tasting 2007 Bordeaux

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Anyone in the NY area and inclined to buy Bordeaux might want to check out the Union des Grands Crus tasting tomorrow, held at The Four Seasons restaurant, a few blocks away from Sherry-Lehmann, which is presenting the event (tickets $75/$125). I stopped by today at the trade version of the same tasting to get a read on the 2007 Bordeaux vintage, which seems to be neither as dire as some reports would have nor as wonderful as the chateau owners might prefer we all thought. 

Basically, the sweet wines from Sauternes and Barsac are lovely in '07, with layers of nectar-like flavors and distinct botrytis character (that distinctive honeysuckle-to-bitter-honey note). Standouts at the tasting included Chateau Coutet, Rayne-Vigneau, and Doise-Daëne.

The white wines of Pessac-Leognan also show well in '07, at least more consistently than the reds. Standouts at the tasting included Domaine de Chevalier, Château de Fieuzal, Château Larrivet Haut-Brion, and Château Smith Haut-Lafitte.

The '07 Bordeaux reds that I tasted were a mixed bag. The best—Domaine de Chevalier and de Fieuzal again, Pape Clément, Pontet-Canet, Léoville Poyferré, Lynch-Bages—weren't flashy, but were balanced, appealing wines supported by ripe tannins, with a kind of sneaky depth to their flavors; the not-so-good were marred by green notes and an hollowness in the midpalate that isn't particularly pleasant now and seems unlikely to improve with age, too. Of course, I tasted only a percentage of a percentage of the '07 Bordeauxs as a whole, so take any broad generalizations cautiously. Or, even better, go to the tasting and see what you think.

 

 

 

 

 

On Jan. 23 in New York City, Sherry-Lehmann Wine & Spirits, presents the Union Des Grands Crus Bordeaux Tasting. This is a rare opportunity to sample the 2006 and 2007 Vintages from more than 80 of Bordeaux's greatest châteaux. Winemakers and châteaux proprietors themselves will be pouring the wines.  VIP ticket holders will be entered into a Special Raffle in which 6 Signed Magnums from a selection of featured Châteaux will be awarded to 6 lucky winners (Raffle Commences at 2:30pm).  For VIP tickets ($125pp before Jan. 20; $150 after) and Grand Tasting tickets ($75pp before Jan. 20; $95 after); sold online at: http://www.sherry-lehmann.com/events; 212-838-7500. Event takes place at 583 Park Avenue in NYC.

Recipes

The (Food) Situation on MTV’s Jersey Shore: Rambo Abs

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© Con Poulos

Not every night can be ravioli or chicken cutlet night if you’re Mike “The Situation” from MTV’s Jersey Shore. “If you want to look somewhat like The Situation, which is definitely going to be pretty hard, you need to get that protein in your diet,” he says, pointing to his ripped abs. Along with “hittin’ the gym,” here are some lean, protein-rich recipes to help you “look like Rambo with his shirt off.”
Korean Sizzling Beef (pictured)
Mango-Glazed Turkey Breast
Tofu with Spicy Meat Sauce

Find more of the Best Healthy Recipes Ever here.

Events

More on Mario’s Super Bowl Super Party

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© Melanie Dunea

I know it’s early to say the Jets are going to the Super Bowl. But like every other Gang Green fan, I’m sure it’s going to happen. And that’s not the only reason to get excited about Miami on Super Bowl weekend. More details are emerging about superstar chef Mario Batali’s Super Brunch, which he’s hosting February 6 at the Viceroy Miami, the day before the Super Bowl. He’s co-hosting with Phillies All-Star pitcher Jamie Moyer. (How did Moyers get to know Batali? Cute story. When Moyers pitched in Seattle, he’d stop at the excellent cured meat spot Salumi on his way to the ballpark; Salumi is owned by Batali’s father Armandino).

Back to the Super Brunch party. Mario will be cooking with his friends Emeril Lagasse and Michael Psilakis of Anthos in NYC (and an F&W Best New Chef 2008). We’ll all be doing a couple of our favorite dishes,” says Batali, which means he menu includes cute little sausage and pepper sandwiches, savory chestnut crepes with ricotta and Emeril’s world -famous bbq shrimp with rosemary biscuits. Besides that, Jimmy Fallon will tell jokes, Jimmy Buffet will mix some cocktails and some singers will further entertain the party (more on that soon). Tickets are pricey—$1,000 each, available here—but all benefits go to both the Mario Batali Foundation (which empowers children) and the Moyers Foundation Camp Erin (which helps kids deal with death). Besides, it will also be your chance to mingle with a bunch of hungry athletes, including a few Jets, if they’re not too busy focusing on the big game. After all, they’re fans of Mario’s. Both coach Rex Ryan and quarterback Mark Sanchez have been spotted at Babbo during the regular season.

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Run with chefs and wine experts in the Celebrity Chef 5K and dance all night at Gail Simmons’ Last Bite Dessert Party during the FOOD & WINE Classic in Aspen, June 20-22.