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Mouthing Off

By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine

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Wine

Belinda Chang Takes Over the Monkey Bar

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© kate krader
Belinda Chang is the Monkey Bar's new GM & wine director.

When last we saw Belinda Chang, she was accepting a James Beard Award for Outstanding Wine Service at The Modern in NYC.  When last we left the Monkey Bar, also in NYC, it was celebrity-studded, with those amazing Ed Sorel murals, but no significant food or wine to speak of.

Now let's celebrate the fact that Chang is back, as the new GM and wine director at—you guessed it—the Monkey Bar! Chang has big plans for the place. "We're going to turn things around, the wine list, everything, is going to be super fun," she says. "The Monkey Bar is a place where
you feel like you're going out, like you're special; the list will feel like that, too." So she'll introduce magnums of as many wines as she can think of, including special ones, made just for the Monkey Bar, served by the glass. She'll also have wines picked out for some famous names who might show up. "For Lady Gaga, I'll serve her some crazy Italian spumante. Maybe an older Erbaluce, which is nutty and voluptuous and decadent. I think she'd love it," says Chang.

Next, look for a notable chef to take over the kitchen, sometime soon.

Farms

Coming Soon From a Foodie Filmmaker Near You

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The star of the new film Charcuterie.

© Christian Remde
The star of the new film Charcuterie.

Filmmaker Christian Remde didn’t exactly set out to chronicle Austin’s artisanal food scene when he began the Twelve Films Project, but any foodie could recognize his passion right off the bat. His 2011 New Year’s resolution was to create one film each month for the year, and so far it has yielded seven short pieces, ranging from a 90-second time-lapse homage to Austin’s Pennybacker Bridge to a narrative portrait of a couple debating the merits of turkey bacon. His love for his adopted hometown’s food scene really began to shine through in his May film, Farm to Trailer, which profiles 2011 Best New Chef Bryce Gilmore. "My wife and I moved to Austin from New York City a little over a year ago, and I really fell in love with Odd Duck," says Remde. "Seeing the amazing way Bryce fuses the food trailer scene with 100 percent locally sourced food sparked the idea for the documentary." Working on that documentary was so rewarding that Remde decided to make two more, starting with this month’s simply titled Charcuterie. “Charcuterie is near and dear to my heart,” he says, “and so I wanted to give people some insight into what it is, why it exists and why people love it.” Later this year, he plans to release The New American Farm, a meditation on the return to small-scale family farming. Now that he’s found his food-obsessed voice, we hope his 2012 resolutions will include another year of films. Click here to view each piece on his website.

Wine

A Grape That Could Use Some (Tough) Love: Chenin Blanc

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I have enormous respect for Chenin Blanc, but this is one grape that definitely needs to spend some time in a military academy. Left to its own devices, after a few years Chenin vines sprawl out, get all broad and flabby, and start overproducing like the Octomom. But with a little firm discipline (shoot- and cluster-thinning, which is vineyard-manager-speak for “drop and give me twenty, dogface!”) suddenly they're a source for crisp, complex—and underrated—white wines. Here are five that have been whipped into shape:

2011 Indaba Chenin Blanc ($10) Sales of Indaba’s wines support a fellowship for needy South African students interested in wine-related careers. Like growing more Chenin Blanc, because the place does it so darn well, for instance.

2010 Dry Creek Vineyard Dry Chenin Blanc ($12) This peachy wine comes from Clarksburg, in California’s Sacramento River delta. No oak here, just zippy stainless-steel-tank freshness.

2010 Mulderbosch Chenin Blanc ($13) More peach notes—it’s sort of a Chenin signature—and a nice hint of spice, from one of South Africa’s top wineries. Plus, how can you not love a place that also makes a wine called “Faithful Hound”?

2010 Pine Ridge Vineyards Chenin Blanc-Viognier ($14) The Pine Ridge folks add about 20% Viognier—another grape that tends towards sloth and dissolution unless you give it what-for—to this melony Chenin, giving it a nice floral note.

2009 Domaine Huet Le Haut Lieu Sec Vouvray ($30, more or less) “Sec” means dry, important to know with Vouvray, since many of the Chenins from this French region can be sweet. “Domaine Huet” means “I make the best damn Chenin Blanc on the planet,” basically. It’s a splurge, but once you’ve fallen in love with this grape, it’s one you’ll want to make.

Related Links:
Top 10 No-Fail Tips for Picking a Stellar Wine off a Wine List
15 Rules for Great Wine and Food Pairing

Restaurants

Jody Adams Tour de Mass

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Jody Adams (second from left, front row) and her PMC Team Rialto at Fenway Park.


Jody Adams (second from left, front row) and her PMC Team Rialto at Fenway Park.

It’s hard not to feel a tinge of guilt eating and drinking around Bordeaux and Paris while the Tour de France is going on. Every morning I’d hop on the bike at our hotel gym and ride along to the Tour coverage on the TV before going off to stuff myself with stinky French cheeses, buttery croissants, macarons and wine from Château Smith Haut Lafitte. After watching the grueling mountain climbs and speedy sprint trials, I have a whole new respect for cyclists. So a huge shout out is in order for Boston chef Jody Adams of Rialto, who is training for the Pan-Mass Challenge bike ride. The two-day ride takes place August 6 and 7, and covers 192 miles from Sturbridge, Massachusetts, to Provincetown, Massachusetts. Jody has been training with Sean Griffing and Eric Papachristos, who are partners in Trade, her new restaurant which opens this fall. Their team has set a goal of raising more than $50,000 to donate to the cancer research and treatment at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Click here to make a donation and support their ride.

Farms

Farm-to-Table Hotels Get Serious

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Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth's Blanche Neige with Chef Martin Paquet.

© Fairmont Hotels & Resorts
Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth's Blanche Neige with Chef Martin Paquet.


When we predicted the advent of rooftop hotel farms in 2011, we had no idea we’d soon be seeing barnyard animals vying for prime real estate. Fairmont Hotels & Resorts are now taking the farm to table movement to a wild new level, welcoming feathered and four-legged guests into the family. Fairmont Newport Beach’s seven adopted goats – Suzy Q, Snickers, Frankie, Lucy, Cali, Trixie and Taffy – will entertain frequent visits from the hotel’s executive chef, who will serve organic cheese made from their milk at the hotel’s restaurant. In Montreal, Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth’s two goats are both named Blanche Neige – “Snow White” – and the mother and daughter duo’s cheese will be available both on the menu at The Beaver Club as well as at the Fairmont Store. The resident honeybees at Quebec City’s Fairmont Le Château Frontenac now have to share the view with a few new tenants: five Chantecler hens, who each produce one egg a day from June through October. Even farmyard guests have to pay for a rooftop garden suite, after all.

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