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Mouthing Off

By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine

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Restaurants

SOBE Burger Bash: The Aftermath

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© South Beach Wine & Food Festival.
Marc Murphy and his winning Big Marc burgers

Judging the South Beach Wine & Food Festival Burger Bash isn’t easy. You have to taste a million burgers (or in this case, about 25), you have to choose among a lot of great options and you have to be prepared to have a serious stomachache afterwards. What almost never happens is that the winning burger is the last one you taste (you’re already way past burger overload). But at this year's Bash that’s exactly what happened to me and my fellow judges—including Art Smith and Alex Guarnaschelli—with Marc Murphy’s “Big Marc.”  His juicy, gorgeously charred burger was made with beef from Allen Brothers, topped with bread & butter pickles and spiked ketchup and served on a grilled house-made cheddar-and-black-pepper bun. Alongside, he served killer jalapeño-cheddar tater tots. “Never made the burger before,” says Murphy. “I was concerned with feeding 3,000 people and thought that by adding the cheese to the bun, I'd eliminate a step and feed everyone more quickly.”

Here’s good news for everyone who wants to taste the Big Marc. Murphy got so many requests for the burger after his win that he’s added it and the tater tots to the menu at his Landmarc and Ditch Plains restaurants. Yes, that includes the Ditch Plains that's opening on Manhattan’s Upper West Side tonight. It's a great opportunity to judge the Big Marc for yourself.

Restaurants

Voltaggio Brothers Incredible Barbecue Road Trip

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Michael and Bryan Voltaggio get schooled on Memphis's Rendezvous ribs.

I just spent a frenzied few hours in St. Louis eating as much barbecue as possible (more on that in an upcoming post). But I've got nothing on Bryan and Michael Voltaggio, who are in the midst of a five-day, multi-city barbecue free-for-all with Williams-Sonoma to educate themselves on the subject.

Here are two of their highlights. If you want to make yourselves hungry, you should follow both Michael and Bryan on Twitter.


Michael and Bryan Voltaggio with a Barbecue Hangover.

Oklahoma Joe's; Kansas City, KS

Michael says: "Kansas City is like the barbecue melting pot. In Texas, it's all about beef, and in North Carolina, there's a lot of pulled pork. But Kansas City is famous for everything. At Oklahoma Joe's, it's all about the Z-man sandwich: slow-smoked brisket piled high on a toasted kaiser bun, with a few onion rings, toasted provolone and a couple drops of sauce. This place is on Tony Bourdain's list of 13 things to eat before you die."

Smitty's Market; Lockhart, TX
Bryan says: "I'm more into traditional brisket than my brother; I go for the kind served with white bread. I had the most amazing brisket I’ve ever had at Smitty's. It’s smoked old pit-style; the walls are covered with smoke. I had it with Big Red, a soda from the area, and Blue Bell ice cream. And p.s., Lockhart Texas was named barbecue capital of Texas by the state's legislation.”

Restaurants

The People’s Best New Chef: Best Buttons

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The Vote for Tim Byres T-shirt.

The voting continues fast and furious for F&W's People’s Best New Chef. And the chefs' campaigning efforts have been outstanding. Take chef Tim Byres at Smoke in Dallas, who had T-shirts made for his giant "Vote for Tim Byres" party the other night.

I'm especially loving my new button collection: In Peoria, Illinois, chef Josh Adams of June gives out huge buttons with each check, while Stephanie Izard at Girl and the Goat in Chicago has a very succinct message on her buttons: "Goat the Vote."
 
So if you haven’t voted yet: Vote! You only have until March 1st. And then we’ll all learn the name of The People’s Best New Chef on March 2nd.

Chefs

Chefs Turned Shoe Designers

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mozo

© Donnie Miller
Chefs Chris Consentino, Marcus Samuelsson and Aarón Sánchez rock their new kicks.


I adore Mario Batali’s cooking, but still can’t bring myself to embrace Crocs. Finally, a more stylish line of shoes for the professional and home cook has launched. We gave a shout out to Mozo Chef Signature Shoes in Food & Wine’s March Trendspotting column. Last night, the chefs-turned-shoe-designers behind the new line were in NYC to give a sneak preview of their designs, which go on sale in May. The ever-so-stylish Marcus Samuelsson of NYC’s Red Rooster named his shoe the Uptown. The copper detailing around the eyelet is a nod to America's diner culture, while the image of the Brooklyn Bridge on the heel is a shout out to NYC. Aarón Sánchez of Centrico got a bit more edgy, recreating a Mexican sugar skull in red stitching on the top of his shoe. Chris Cosentino, who was slicing killer charcuterie that he flew in from his restaurant Boccalone in San Francisco, wins the award for most outrageous design. The top of his shoe (named the Fifth Quarter) resembles honeycomb tripe, and he designed a pig on the footbed that duplicates a tattoo on his arm of a 16th-century butchery diagram. Perhaps the biggest news of the night was that Mozo would donate $10,000 in the chefs’ honor to the Careers Through Culinary Arts Program.
 


Farms

TEDx Manhattan: Sustainable Food…and Forks

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© Jason Houston for TEDxManhattan
Chef Michel Nischan

This past Saturday marked the first-ever TEDx Manhattan: Changing the Way We Eat, a conference devoted to sustainable-food issues. The daylong series of 18-minute talks covered topics ranging from how farmers in Illinois are dealing with the environmental impact of industrial dairies to how organizations like the Bed-Stuy Campaign Against Hunger are creating amazingly productive community gardens. Elizabeth Meltz, an exuberant former cook who oversees food safety and sustainability for Mario Batali's restaurant group, talked about the challenge of educating the staff about green practices: "We can barely get them not to throw out the silverware." Michel Nischan of the Dressing Room Restaurant in Westport, Connecticut, described the efforts of his nonprofit, Wholesome Wave, to make produce accessible and affordable in poor communities. Food & Wine proudly supports Wholesome Wave, and we're raising money now with these awesome Green Passes to the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen this June.

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