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Mouthing Off

By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine

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Wines Under $20

Today Show: Spooky Beers and Wines

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Had a great time on Today yesterday with Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford, talking about spooky beers and wines for Halloween parties. The clip is here if you're interested, but I also thought it would be worthwhile to run through the wines in Tasting Room, and add a few extra for fun. Halloween's still a few days away, so there's time left to shop.

2008 Spellbound Chardonnay ($16) Rob Mondavi, Jr. (of those Mondavis) makes this juicy, eminently drinkable Chardonnay with fruit primarily from the Lodi region. (find this wine)

2007 Bogle Phantom ($20) This is a juicy, dark-fruited blend of Zinfandel, Petite Sirah and Mourvedre. Plus, it's got an eerie label that looks like a haunted forest at night, though I suspect it's actually gnarled old Zin vines. (find this wine

2006 Flora Springs Ghost Winery Cabernet Franc ($40) Flora Springs will be doing a "ghost winery" release every year on Halloween (or just before, so it can be shipped in time to arrive for Halloween). This year's is an appealingly aromatic Cab Franc with good tannic bones. So to speak. (find this wine)

2008 Edmunds St. John Bone-Jolly ($18) Gamay, the grape of Beaujolais, vinified by the talented winemaker Steve Edmunds: it's a great combination, resulting in a wine that is much more full of life (and lively red fruit) than the skeletons on the label might suggest. (find this wine)

2009 Owen Roe Sinister Hand ($24) Why not pour a wine on Halloween whose label happens to have a blood-dripping severed hand on it? Especially why not, when the wine is a peppery, berry-bright, Washington State Grenache blend like this one. (find this wine)

Restaurants

The Great Pumpkin Carving Contest at DBGB

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© Georgette Farkas
DBGB's Wining All Pumpkin Yankee Burger

At DBGB, chef Daniel Boulud’s downtown NYC bistro, the burgers have a powerful allure and not just for customers. When it came time for DBGB’s First Annual Pumpkin Carving contest, some 20 cooks and front-of-the-house staffers got out their carving knives and went crazy, two of them successfully channeling two of the restaurant’s signature burgers, the Frenchie and the Yankee. Both won prizes. Here’s a recap of the awards, where the first-place pumpkin-carvers won dinner at DB Bistro Moderne and the runners-up got Food & Wine cookbooks and magazine subscriptions.

Awards
1st Place Kitchen: Adi’s Yankee Burger Pumpkin. Every single detail was made from pumpkin, including the accompanying fries (extra credit for the grill marks on the burger).

1st Place Front of House: Zakir’s Disco Pumpkin
. The only multimedia pumpkin, this one contained strobe lights and haunted-house sound effects.

[More]

Recipes

Halloween at Food & Wine’s Office

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© Alessandra Bulow
From left: Rory Tischler, Jon (Smooth) Varriano & Seton Rossini man the bar at The Old F&W Art Saloon

Halloween is two days away but the art department staff of Food & Wine’s marketing team is kicking off the festivities today by transforming their office space into The Old F&W Art Saloon. In addition to dressing up in awesome 19th-century Western costumes, they’re serving beef chili with beans, buttery corn bread and fantastic homemade black pepper beef jerky.

(Last year they dressed as the Simmons Family including Top Chef judge and F&W’s own Gail Simmons, Gene Simmons and Richard Simmons—no relation.)

Scrounging for a last-minute Halloween costume or party idea? Get inspiration from F&W's Dress Like a Chef and Halloween Party slideshows.

Cookbooks

News for Salt Fiends

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At The Meadow, in Portland, Oregon, Mark Bitterman has spent the past five years selling a mind-boggling array of salts, from Japanese deep-sea salts to rose pink Himalayan salt blocks. Former F&W Best New Chefs like Naomi Pomeroy and Gabriel Rucker pop in not just for the salts but also for Mark's expertise, since he's spent years experimenting with all of his inventory. Now there are two ways for people who don't live in Portland to get a bit of Mark's advice, too. The first is his new cookbook, Salted, which is a field guide to artisan salts complete with recipes. The second is a class at The Meadow's new branch in Manhattan. The West Village shop is unofficially open this week; tonight Mark offers his first salt-tasting class, which will focus on finishing salts. Tickets are $30, and the event also includes wine tasting.

Restaurants

Pay For Dinner by Text Message

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Most restaurants encourage diners to keep their phones out of the dining room (the Home Ranch in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, actually collects them in a basket upon entering the restaurant). But Pod restaurant in Philadelphia is giving diners a reason to take out their phones. It has partnered with Xipwire, a mobile payment service, and is the first restaurant in the country that allows people to pay for dinner by text message. Other STARR restaurants plan to implement the service later this year.

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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.