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Mouthing Off

By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine

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A New Use For Thyme

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© Tina Rupp

Now that we're several snowstorms deep into winter, and signs of life from my fire-escape herb garden ended long ago, I like to use my stash of dried herbs for a dose of flavor. A favorite use for thyme is this supereasy and fragrant chicken dish (pictured). But according to a recent New York Times piece, there's another new use for thyme in the kitchen: as a cleanser. Seventh Generation just launched a new line of disinfecting sprays and wipes made with thymol (a component of thyme oil).

Restaurants

Back at Manhattan's El Quinto Pino

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A light fixture gets in the way of El Quinto Pino's new menu

I didn’t realize how much I missed El Quinto Pino—the superlative Chelsea tapas bar launched by wife-and-husband team Alex Raij and Eder Montero—until I went back the other night. Back too are Raij and Montero, who got the place after giving up ownership of their other tapas bar, Tía Pol (let's not go into any lawsuit details here). The couple, who also own the Basque spot Txikito across the street, did minor renovations to warm the place up, including adding a few more tables (yay). They also changed almost all the dishes and added a rotating “turistico” menu. “The turistico menu will stop in different regions of Spain; the first stop is Galicia,” says Raij. Those Galician dishes are pretty delicious, including calda gallejo made with cross-cut spare ribs with pig head and chorizo, plus cannellini beans and turnip greens (“three or four kinds of pork, always,” says Raij). EQP’s basic menu includes mostly new items too, like crispy lamb intestines with pungent chile-garlic vinegar. But don’t worry, EQP’s celebrated uni panini is still there, at the top of the menu. And the crowd that night included my new favorites, the team from Torrisi Italian Specialties.

Travel

The Conrad Maldives’ Underwater Suite

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hotel

© Conrad Hotels
A suite under the sea.

Six years ago, the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island resort could lay claim to the hottest table in the Maldives when it opened Ithaa, a restaurant 16 feet below sea level. If dining inside what is virtually an aquarium isn’t cool enough, the resort is now giving guests the option to sleep with the fishes in its new Ithaa Underwater Suite. The all-glass suite can only be booked for one night at a time, and guests can get everything from room service to a massage upon request.
 

Restaurants

Olympic Update: Vancouver’s Modern Asian Food

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Gyo-O

© Amy Rosen
Gyo-O

The Vancouver suburb of Richmond is home to the Olympic Oval, the speed-skating venue, but it’s also where you’ll find the Golden Village: an intensely concentrated taste of Northern China. Here, some of Richmond’s best modern-Asian restaurants:

Cattle Café: Dishes at this Hong Kong–style café range from the tame (noodle soups with king mushrooms and sliced brisket) to the adventurous (BBQ-eel sandwiches and spicy pig ears). 1020-8580 Alexandra Rd.; 604-276-2800 or cattlecafe.ca.

Well Tea:
This Taiwanese bistro offers lots of fun things to eat, like deftly fried, delicately seasoned chicken nuggets. The fresh-taro-root bubble tea is creamy and tasty. Unit 170-4811, Hazelbridge Way; 604-278-7268 or welltea.ca.

Gyo-O: The specialty here is fresh fish on warm seasoned rice (the tuna with negi sauce is particularly great). For dessert, the house-made macaroons are presented as the Olympic rings in blueberry, chocolate, green tea, maple and strawberry flavors. 2137-3779 Sexsmith Rd.; 604-295-4072 or gyo-o.com.

 

Fisherman’s Terrace Restaurant: The focus here is big-ticket seafood, like local geoduck prepared two ways: sashimi-style, and lightly battered and stir-fried with loads of garlic, jalapeños and green onion. 3580-4151 Hazelbridge Way, 604-303-9739.

Recipes

Excellent Valentine's Day Cocktail

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Bartender extraordinaire, friend to F&W, and general all-around good fellow Jim Meehan of NYC's PDT came up with this cocktail a few months back for a wine-vs-cocktails smackdown held at NYC's Nios Restaurant. I attended the event, drank the drink, and at the time thought to myself, well, that's about the best Valentine's Day cocktail I've ever run into. It's gorgeous to look at, tastes terrific, and also packs a reasonable punch. (Note: It might not be the thing to stir up for a crowd of longshoremen; it's a very pretty drink.)

Raspberries Reaching
recipe courtesy of Jim Meehan

1.5 ounces Clear Creek Framboise (or other Framboise—the eau de vie, not the Belgian beer)
1 ounce Royal Tokaji 5 Puttonyos Red Label (or other 5 Puttonyos Tokaji)
1/2 ounce Pama Pomegranate Liqueur
3 drops Rose Flower Water

Stir ingredients in a cocktail shaker and strain into a chilled coupe glass. Garnish with a rose petal, particularly a peach-colored one if you can find it...

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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.