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Mouthing Off

By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine


Is Chicken Skin the New Bacon?


While visiting my parents outside Philadelphia over the holidays, I met up with restaurant critic Joy Manning for a Philly restaurant crawl. At Fish—chef Mike Stollenwerk’s second restaurant (the first is the diminutive Little Fish)— I loved the perfectly cooked skate (nicely crusted outside and moist within) served with golden brown spaetzle and a lush parmesan-truffle sauce. But our fishless starter—an otherwise ordinary beet salad—really struck me because of its garnish: crisp bits of chicken skin scattered like croutons.

Since winning Top Chef Season 2, Ilan Hall has talked about the deliciousness of chicken skin. Now, he’s getting all kinds of press for the gribenes sandwich—essentially a BLT with chicken skin standing in for the bacon—that he serves at his new LA spot, The Gorbals.

And what trend would be complete without a David Chang restaurant to legitimize it? Crispy chicken skin garnishes hand-torn pasta with escargot sausage at NYC's still-impossible-to-get-into Momofuku Ko. (Plus David recently created Turkey Cracklings to accompany Turkey Breast with Ginger-Scallion Sauce in F&W's Thanksgiving Leftovers Challenge.)

Another fabulous recipe: chicken tacos from F&W's Marcia Kiesel with a crispy skin garnish.


NYC Food & Culture Pairings



© Philip Greenberg
The Guggenheim's futuristic new restaurant, the Wright.


As F&W's travel editor and someone with a serious case of wanderlust, it’s rare that I’m home for more than a few days at a time. But I promised myself I’d start off the new year in NYC and kicked off 2010 with a megadose of culture paired with some great meals. Here, a mini winter arts cheat sheet for Manhattan:

*MoMa has put together a brilliant, mind-bending retrospective of Tim Burton’s work that includes slightly disturbing teenage doodles, 3-D monsters and a showing of Burton's films. After, go to the bar room at the Modern and eat chef Gabriel Kreuther’s Alsatian thin-crust tarte flambé with crème fraiche, onion and applewood-smoked bacon and his decadent slow-poached farm egg served in a mason jar with Maine lobster, sunchokes and sear urchin froth.

*I dare anyone not to get dizzy as they wind their way around the Guggenheim viewing Wassily Kandinsky’s wild, geometric paintings. The museum’s new restaurant, the Wright, offers more sensory overload with a sleek space designed by British artist Liam Gillick that makes you feel like you’re riding Disney’s Space Mountain roller coaster. The food, from David Bouley-alum Rodolfo Contreras, is appropriately gorgeous with delicate dishes like roasted red and golden beets topped with sheep’s-milk cheese, citrus and pistachio and a fantastic spiced pumpkin and chocolate cake with pumpkin-seed-oil ice cream.

*I may never look at paper the same way again after viewing Slash: Paper Under the Knife at the Museum of Arts and Design. Drop by late and then have dinner at the just-opened restaurant Robert. The comforting Italian dishes like chicken cooked under a brick and papparadelle with wild boar ragu are delicious. Also amazing: the Central Park views and the room’s funky art and Jetson-esque design pieces (there’s a video-art piece by Jennifer Steinkamp and Barbie-pink acrylic lighting designed by Johanna Grawunder).


The (Food) Situation on MTV’s Jersey Shore


Pecorino Ravioli with Walnuts and Marjoram will get fists pumping on Ravioli Night.
When he isn't fist pumping, tanning or scavenging for women, Mike "The Situation" from MTV's Jersey Shore (2.5 million viewers' guilty pleasure—and mine, too) is cooking.

In the controversial reality show's latest episode, The Situation and his male roommates decide to make an "unbelievable dinner" and stay at home with Nicole "Snooki," who is recovering from being punched (by a man!). "There's going to be a feast on the dinner table, but 'The Situation' has got it under control," he says.

When The Situation refuses to help clean up after the "feast" of lobster, steak, asparagus, grilled corn and salad, his short-lived flame Sammi "Sweetheart" picks a fight with him. (In a previous episode, the two flirted while preparing sausage and peppers together.)

His retaliation: "From now on you are excluded from dinner then. You are excluded from surf and turf night. You are excluded from ravioli night. You are excluded from chicken cutlet night."


Oh no! Anything but chicken cutlet night!

Here are some recipes for Sammi and anyone else who might get banished from one of The Situation's "crazy meals" in a future episode:

Surf and Turf Night
Eric Ripert's Surf and Turf

Ravioli Night
Shrimp-and-Lobster Ravioli
Pecorino Ravioli with Walnuts and Marjoram (pictured)
Sweet-Potato Ravioli with Brown Butter

Chicken Cutlet Night
Chicken Stuffed with Spinach
Chicken with Cherry Tomato Pesto Sauce
Anne Byrn's Chicken Piccata with Artichokes and Olives



Scoop: Kogi's New Restaurant


Sure, New Year's Eve was exciting, but maybe the highlight of my end-of-December trip to LA was meeting up with Roy Choi, chef and co-owner of the awesome Kogi Korean-taco truck, and seeing Kogi's new Mobile Kitchen in real life (more on that tomorrow). And hearing Choi’s news, which is this: The Kogi team is going to open a restaurant in West LA (on Overland, to be precise). Choi describes the place as a mom-and-pop diner focused on rice bowls, with counter service and mismatched plates; he's shooting to launch it on his birthday, February 24th.


Food, Wine & Football



© Max's Wine Dive
Fried Chicken and Champagne at Max's Wine Dive.


It’s frigid here in New York City, and with the long holiday weekend ahead, I plan on holing up and cooking my favorite comfort foods, drinking some great wines and watching a lot of college football. I recently heard about a new wine bar in Texas that combines all three things. Max’s Wine Dive opened in May in downtown Austin with the philosophy of "Fried chicken and champagne? Why the hell not?!"

With its local team, the University of Texas Longhorns, playing for the national championship on January 7, the bar should be packed with fans eating not just fried chicken with Champagne but kobe burgers with Cabernet and oyster nachos with premier cru Burgundy.

Until I find my own NYC version of Max’s, I’ll be replicating their comfort-food-and-wine pairings with ideas from Food & Wine.

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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.