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Mouthing Off

By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine

Wine Wednesday

Fruity Wine Fail: Durian

Riesling Sangria with Lychees

Consider the durian. This is a fruit that smells, depending on whom you talk to, like rotting onions, roadkill, old cat box (one of our food editors suggested that one), concentrated manure, piles of unwashed gym socks, you name it. It looks like a king-size hedgehog with no legs, weighs up to nine pounds or so, and is said to occasionally kill people by falling on them from high up in the trees where it grows. Some people love it—the fruit inside is quite sweet and tasty, they’ll tell you—but then some people love fermented shark (really: Iceland). Regardless, the durian isn’t something that one naturally associates with the phrase, “Hey—let’s make this thing into wine!”

However, that is apparently what a clever gang of scientists in Singapore have done. The end result came in at about 6 percent alcohol, and lacks the durian’s debilitating smell. Now, why someone would want to do this remains unclear to me, but hey, the quest for knowledge is eternal. Nevertheless, I do think that if you’re dead set on bringing together fruit and wine, there are a number of easier and better ways to go about it, the best of them being sangria.

Sangria sometimes gets a bad rap as being cheap, fruity hooch, good for getting you cheerfully buzzed and little else, but good sangria is delicious, and also one of the best summer drinks for a crowd. Its history is vague—grapes have been cultivated in Spain for a couple of thousand years, and citrus fruit for half that, or so—but it seems pretty clear that no one in the US knew about it till it was introduced at the 1964 World’s Fair. The traditional recipe includes red or white wine, citrus juice (usually orange), sparkling water and sliced fruit, plus a little brandy and a little sugar. But thanks to the inventiveness of mixologists and chefs these days, there are also endless variations—red sangrias, white sangrias, sake-infused sangrias, mango sangrias, watermelon sangrias, you name it. Here, to spur the imagination and potentially resolve your next cookout beverage dilemma, are 15 of F&W’s favorites.

Related: 21 Summer Fruit Cocktails
Fantastic Wine Cocktails
Terrific Pitcher Drinks

America's Most Wanted

The Strictly No-Ketchup Burger at Father's Office

Sang Yoon

Aside from In-N-Out’s crispy, griddled patty, the most celebrated burger in Los Angeles has to be Sang Yoon’s juicy, extra-cheesy signature at beer mecca Father’s Office. Inspired by his favorite flavors to pair with beef, Yoon created a powerhouse mix of toppings: caramelized onions, Gruyère and Maytag cheeses, applewood-smoked bacon compote and arugula. After years of notoriety, Yoon doesn't scoff at his burger's enduring fame. “I don’t think any chef gets to decide what they’re known for,” he says. “That’s left to the audience. You’re lucky if you get to be known for anything.”

Related: Fantastic Burger Recipes
Readers' Picks: Best Burgers
Over-the-Top Burgers

Kitchen Insider

The Secrets to Perfect Roast Chicken

Barbuto's JW Chicken

Today, roast chicken guru Jonathan Waxman of New York City's Barbuto and Top Chef Masters fame stopped by F&W’s Facebook page to chat with fans about kale salads, Labor Day grilling and his insider roasting tips. Here, he reveals the dos and don'ts of cooking chicken perfectly and his favorite places to eat it in America.

What’s the most common mistake people make when roasting chicken?
Not basting! Basting is the key. I baste with the pan juices—typically good olive oil and butter. Use a big spoon and gloves.

If a whole roasted chicken comes out rubbery, what was the problem and how should it be correctly cooked?
The chicken was too young and well, not a good bird. Buy the biggest bird (4 pounds) and let it sit in the fridge for a day. Then remove it from the bag, wash under hot water to get rid of the bag stuff, dry and preheat the oven to 400 degrees for an hour. Then coat the chicken with olive oil and salt and pepper. Roast it for 50 minutes, basting every five minutes. Let it rest for 30 minutes after it cooks.

What are some great uses for leftover roast chicken?
Hash, ravioli, tacos or eat it cold from the fridge with a beer.

How many roasted chickens do you serve at Barbuto each week?

Aside from your own, what are your favorite chicken dishes in the country?
The chicken sandwich at Son of a Gun in L.A. is to die for! Chicken wings at Jonathan Sawyer’s Noodle Cat in Cleveland are scrumptious!

There was a recent NPR article saying people shouldn’t wash chickens before cooking. What do you think?
Wash that scum off the bird—plastic bags and chickens are not good soul mates.

Related: The Best Chicken Dishes in the U.S.
Andrew Zimmern's Global Chicken Guide
Best Fried Chicken in the U.S.
Best Chicken Wings in the U.S.

Rant for Your Life

Why Most Restaurants Fail the Toast Test

Toast fail.

I woke up on a recent morning, like every morning, thinking about toast. I knew that if I kept thinking about toast—not French toast, or toast points, but traditional white toast like you eat at breakfast—I would work myself up into a towering wrath. And there was nothing to be wrathful about! I had fallen asleep at the St. Cecilia hotel in Austin listening to Neil Young records, and woke up knowing that I was about to have breakfast outdoors with a grackle, one the city’s ubiquitous, crow-like carrion birds, at Jo's up the street. (I was in Texas to do the press conference for Meatopia Texas in San Antonio, and also to eat at Qui, which, by the way, is AWESOME.) Once at Jo's, I ended up with a world-class breakfast taco, which I shared with the friendly corvid. In Texas, excellent tortillas seem to take the place of toast much of the time, but I had wanted toast. And I couldn't get it. Because, in Austin as in so many great American cities, our restaurants all fail the Toast Test.


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Chicken Nation

Andrew Zimmern's Global Chicken Guide

Andrew Zimmern's Global Chicken Guide

The TV star and F&W contributing editor shares the best places around the world to try every single part of the chicken—from the head to the feet.

Bird Land, Tokyo
Chef Toshihiro Wada's Bird Land tops my list for yakitori in Tokyo. Every part of the bird is served here, including the heart, a lean, tender organ that only takes a minute to cook over the superhot binchotan charcoal. Most people think of offal as too funky, but the heart is a great introduction to the odd bits: It's slightly chewy and takes on a nice char.

Va Villa, Mexico City
At this stall in the Barrio Tepito district, heads and necks are fried in lard and then swaddled in salsa verde, queso blanco, shredded lettuce and diced tomatoes. Laid on top of crispy fried tortillas, they almost look like little chicks sleeping. Fray Bartolome de las Casas (West Of Aztecas), Barrio Tepito.

Shilin Night Market; Taipei, Taiwan
Walking through this market, you will bump into vendors grilling skewers of unusual chicken parts: unlaid eggs, feet and chicken butts, the flappy bit at the end of the animal where a huge nugget of fat holds the massive plume of feathers. Try any vendor; grilled hard, these chewy nuggets become a crispy, delicious bite and are my single favorite part of the chicken. Jihe Rd, Shilin District.

Chez Georges, Paris

My grandmother's chopped chicken liver has no equal, but Chez Georges's chicken liver terrine is close. Smooth, rich, fatty, minerally and dense, it has all the qualities I love in liver. Get extra bread. 1 Rue du Mail; 33-1-42-60-07-11.

New Lane; Penang, Malaysia

New Lane is the greatest street-food stroll in the world, partly because it's the only place to get these chicken wings—glazed with a sticky sauce of sugar, soy, rice wine, cinnamon and star anise. Look for a stall with the longest line of locals. Lorong Baru, Georgetown.

Kokekokko, Los Angeles
The chefs at Little Tokyo's Kokekokko have yakitori down to a science. They also nail the art. Try skewers of non-traditional parts, like keel bones, the rubbery wedge between the chicken breasts. It has great smoky flavor and the perfect crunchy, yielding feel. 203 S. Central Ave.; 213-687-0690.

Bukhara, New Delhi
One of the best restaurants in India, Bukhara serves richly seasoned, tandoor-cooked red-gold chicken thighs that are buttery, spicy and crisp in all the right places. Diplomatic Enclave, Sardar Patel Margs; 91-11-26112233.

Willie Mae's Scotch House, New Orleans
Located in the Treme neighborhood, the restaurant is run by Willie Mae's granddaughter, who serves some of the best fried chicken. It's the only place where I ever order breasts, because frankly, it's one of the few spots that knows how to cook them. 2401 Saint Ann St.; 504-822-9503.

Husk; Charleston, SC
Southern chefs aren't afraid of fat, so it makes sense that chicken skin shows up in a few different incarnations at Sean Brock's Husk (as a salad garnish or with pimento cheese). The absolute best use of the skin, however, is as an appetizer, where it's buttermilk-marinated and deep-fried.

Scotchies Restaurant; St. Ann, Jamaica
The chicken is bathed in a flaming-hot seasoning of Scotch bonnet peppers and spices. After a day in the rub, the birds are smoke-roasted on stacks of pimento wood. I ask for piles of legs and a coconut water. N. Coast Hwy., Drax Hall.

M. Wells Dinette; Long Island City, NY
Inside the Museum of Modern Art's PS 1 outpost, this spot is renowned for Hugue Dufour's fat-on-fat Quebecois food. I always order the crispy and chewy buffalo-style chicken feet—drenched in hot sauce and, of course, maple syrup.

Related: Andrew Zimmern's Kitchen Adventures
Global Grilled Chicken Recipes
Best Restaurant Chicken Dishes

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