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Mouthing Off

By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine

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Cocktails

How to Support Gulf Coast Fishermen

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train

© Patrón Tequila
Patrón Tequila Epicurean Express


    
The St. Bernard Project, a Louisiana-based nonprofit that helped rebuild homes after Hurricane Katrina, is now helping the fishermen, shrimpers and oystermen affected by the Gulf Coast oil spill. Their goal is to raise $75,000 to rebuild houses and provide mental health services for fishermen and their families. To raise funds, they’ve partnered with The Patrón Tequila Epicurean Express, a restored 1926 railway car that will be traveling to Chicago, Philadelphia, Washington, DC, New Orleans and Los Angeles this month. Top chefs and mixologists from each city will host Patrón-spiked cocktail parties and dinners aboard the train.

Currently in Chicago, the train's next stop is Track 31 in Washington D.C.’s Union Station June 8th and 9th. Louisiana chefs like Brian Landry of Galatoire’s in New Orleans will be teaming up with DC-area stars like Jeff Tunks, Todd Thrasher, David Guas and Robert Wiedmaier to create Southern-inflected menus that will feature seafood from the Gulf of Mexico.

Click here for tickets and future dates.
 
 

Cocktails

Drinking Vodka Cocktails with the Dallas Cowboys

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© Kate Krader
Dallas Cowboys Kyle Kosier and Jason Witten dwarf chef Tim Love

I’ve seen a lot of cocktails recently. After all, F&W's outstanding and just-out Cocktails 2010 required a lot of tasting and testing. Still, my most recent highlight was co-hosting a party at the Lonesome Dove Western Bistro in Fort Worth, Texas, to launch Belvedere's brand-newest vodka, Pink Grapefruit. How's this for a party, which featured cocktail pairings all the way through dinner?

The Food Texas rock star chef Tim Love making crazy-inspired dishes ranging from pillowy ricotta gnocchi with rattlesnake sausage to Kobe beef cap with crispy fried salsify.
The Cocktails Belvedere’s head mixologist Claire Smith paired all the food with genius, not-too-sweet drinks. That gnocchi, for instance, was served with Cerveza Preparada, a mix of orange vodka, blood orange juice and local micro-brewed wheat beer.
The Guests Local editors, chefs, mixologists. And the Dallas Cowboys! Well, two of them, namely adorable Pro Bowler Jason Witten (the best tight end in the NFC) and guard Kyle Kosier.
The After Party At the funky White Elephant Saloon, complete with shots of Tuaca from their very own Tuaca machine.

Auctions

Auction Napa Valley Dreaming

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wine auction napa valley

© 2009 Jason Tinacci / Napa Valley Vintners

The lavish Auction Napa Valley is this weekend and I desperately wish I could be there. There are some totally over-the-top lots that will go up during the live auction on Saturday. (Why, hello, lot #12 with your five-year vertical of magnums of Shafer Hillside Select accompanied by three nights at Auberge du Soleil, dinner with the whole Shafer clan and a bonus dinner at the French Laundry!)

Since I can't be in attendance, I took a spin through the online auction which ends Friday (tomorrow) at 3 p.m. PST. There are some pretty nice lots there that I wouldn’t mind waving my virtual paddle at. How about a two-night stay at Stony Hill Vineyard and a case of the last four vintages of its stunning Chardonnay? Or why not bid on a night in a luxury tent smack dab in the middle of Duckhorn’s Merlot vineyards followed by a day working the harvest plus six magnums to take home?

Thankfully, I kept myself from placing bids in the dictated $100 increments, but if I had an extra several thousand dollars in my bank account, I might not have been so modest. Get ‘em while you can.

Farms

A Great Foodie Beach Read

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book

© Ben Hoffmann
Manhattanites turned gentlemen farmers.



I’ve recently put together my summer reading list to keep me occupied when the waves are flat this summer at the beach. This past weekend I finished The Bucolic Plague: How Two Manhattanites Became Gentlemen Farmers. The witty new memoir from Josh Kilmer-Purcell tells the story of how he and partner Brent Ridge unexpectedly found themselves reviving the dormant Beekman farm in Sharon Springs, NY. They channel Martha Stewart (Brent was vice president at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia) as they make a go at goat-herding, heirloom vegetable gardening and even soap-making. At the beginning, the author cautions that the book isn’t about living your dream: “It will not inspire you. You will not be emboldened to attempt anything more than making a fresh pot of coffee.” But after reading the ups (perfectly ripe Cherokee Purple tomatoes) and downs (dealing with a truck full of stinky, sick baby goats or a tree of dead sparrows) of farm life I was ready to move to the country and start homesteading.

Chefs

First Summer BLT

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Black Pig Meat Co.

About a month ago I went to a Sonoma County event and came away with a rare treat: some Black Pig Meat Co. bacon. The company, founded by Sonoma chefs Duskie Estes and John Stewart of Zazu and Bovolo, makes a mean bacon.  They dry-cure heritage-breed, hormone-free pigs for up to three weeks, then finish them off with applewood smoke. The country has long been nuts for swine, using it in everything from cocktails to chocolate, but for me, the only way I was going to eat this bacon was in a BLT. I froze my stash in anticipation of summer tomatoes at the Grand Army Plaza farmer's market in Brooklyn, and this weekend I was rewarded: I only needed two of the thick-cut slices and the thinnest sliver of tomato to make the perfect sandwich. It'll be hard to get me to stray from this classic combo, but these F&W variations on the BLT have definitely caught my eye.

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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.