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Mouthing Off

By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine

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Fresh From the Oven: Food as Performance Art

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Amara Tabor-Smith in "Our Daily Bread."

© Ana Teresa Fernandez
Amara Tabor-Smith in "Our Daily Bread."

Talking about art may be like dancing about architecture (or so David Bowie might have said), but there's no metaphor yet for dancing about food. San Francisco might need to invent one: From a city obsessed with art and food comes a new performance piece by choreographer Amara Tabor-Smith called “Our Daily Bread.” The Oakland, California–based choreographer is the current artist-in-residence at CounterPULSE, an awesome nonprofit performance space and community center. Her piece combines dance, spoken word and video to examine food traditions and social justice issues as they’re played out on the farm and at the table, and the choreography overflows with emotion and personal experience, such as her recent decision to renounce seafood (and thus her favorite dish, her mother’s seafood gumbo) out of concern for commercial overfishing. Tabor-Smith hosted a number of potluck “eat-ins" leading up to the performance, with guests like chef Bryant Terry and writer/urban farmer Novella Carpenter. “Our Daily Bread” debuted last night and runs through April 24. Tickets are available at counterpulse.org.

Recipes

A Cookbook from Italy’s Most Dreamy Resort

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apple tart

© Jen Murphy
Apple tart at Castello di Vicarello

Earlier in the year I had a chance to spend a weekend cooking with the amazing Aurora Baccheschi Berti at her dreamy 12th-century castle-turned-hotel, Castello di Vicarello, in Maremma, Tuscany. Staying at Vicarello is like staying at fabulous friend’s home with nonstop food, wine and adventure (Aurora’s husband, Carlo, takes groups wild-boar hunting at his nearby lodge, Valle di Buriano. Aurora and Carlo spent years in the textile business and have quite an eye for design. The seven rooms and villas of Vicarello are outfitted with unique antiques, old issues of Art Forum, oversize bathtubs and quirky touches like a zebra-skin rug. But it’s the kitchen that’s truly the heart of the house, and that’s where guests gravitate. Carlo and Aurora, and often their three charming sons, are the perfect hosts, offering up glasses of Brunello and slices of wild-boar prosciutto. Aurora hosts impromptu cooking lessons, and dinners are a two-hour-plus affair. I got a taste of the Tuscan winter on my visit, but Aurora’s just-released cookbook, Tuscany My Way, gives me a chance to recreate recipes from all four seasons at Vicarello. Inspired by the castle’s gardens, the book has more than 100 recipes organized by season, like carbonara withfava beans and apple tart. It’s one of the most transporting cookbooks I’ve seen and the next best thing to a trip back to Tuscany.
 

Wines Under $20

Today Show: Wines for Snack Foods

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I was on the fourth hour of Today on NBC this morning, doing a fun roundup of affordable wines to pair with snack foods—definitely no haute cuisine here. But if you've ever wondered what wines go with nachos with cheese & jalapeños, or Slim Jims, or Ring Dings (really), click through to the video.

Restaurants

Florida: America's Next Regional Barbecue?

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© Courtesy TrésKoi PR

Orlando cuisine in my experience has been chain restaurants and fast-food spots, peppered with theme-park snacks. But John Rivers (left) has opened up something entirely different in nearby Winter Park: a barbecue joint. The Floridian married a Texan and became infatuated with brisket; he began smoking his own about 20 years ago and later started selling it at fundraisers to help victims of childhood cancer. The brisket drew such huge crowds that in the fall of 2009, Rivers opened up a brick-and-mortar spot: 4 Rivers Smokehouse. The lines start early and don't let up during the day, so Rivers just opened a second location across town in Winter Garden to keep up with demand and will likely open more in the future. Those not in Florida can now buy his sauce and rubs online, too.

Bars

48-Hour Houston Food Tour

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hoops

© Jen Murphy
Food and hoops in Houston.



When I visited Houston last weekend to watch the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championships, I knew I’d be running into some hoops stars. What I didn’t expect was that I’d be hanging with so many rock stars and chefs. Here, some highlights:

*The city of Houston organized an unbelievable line-up of free concerts in Discovery Park to coincide with the Final Four. The Kings of Leon put on a rockin' show Saturday night. Afterward, we shared a bottle of 2007 Dominus Estate Napanook with the band and reminisced about the first time we heard "Smells Like Teen Spirit." Nathan Followill, an F&W subscriber, also told me about his special infused-butter recipe.

*F&W Best New Chef Bryan Caswell took us to what may be the greatest Texas dive bar, the Big Easy Social and Pleasure Club, for some live music and Texas-two-step lessons. Late-night, we feasted on enchiladas and margaritas at El Real Tex-Mex Café, which Caswell just opened with Robb Walsh.

* Houston chefs Chris Shepherd of Catalan Food and Wine, Monica Pope of T’afia and Randy Evans of Haven took us on a five-hour ethnic-food crawl. Highlights included charcoal-roasted cabrito (goat) at El Hidalguense, a no-frills Mexican spot; soup dumplings at Fu Fu Café in Chinatown; and goat biryani and stir-fried okra from the great British-Indian restaurant London Sizzler.

*Fort Worth, Texas–based chef Tim Love of the Lonesome Dove and Love Shack was in town to judge the Coach’s Cook-off. He invited us to hang backstage with his friend, country musician Pat Green. Post-show, we had a nose-to-tail dinner at Feast that ended with a stellar dish of crispy roasted pork belly with red cabbage and potato cakes.

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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.