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Mouthing Off

By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine

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A Locavore Tribute to Central Park

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carlyle

© Rosewood
The restaurant at The Carlyle, a Rosewood Hotel.

 

Hard-core foragers like “Wildman” Steve Brill have proven that great ingredients don't have to come from country farms. Now, chef James Sakatos of The Carlyle, a Rosewood Hotel, is going extreme-locavore with his new Tastings of Central Park menu, which debuts tomorrow. The iconic New York City hotel is just blocks from the park, and the menu will highlight park ingredients such as oyster mushrooms, chickweed, sheep’s sorrel and sumac berries. Don't expect to find anything too crazy, like squirrel or pigeon, though. The park produce acts as an accent in dishes like sumac-spiced Amish chicken, sautéed dandelions and potato-crusted black bass with park-sourced braised burdock.

Restaurants

Eco Treats at NYC’s New Museum

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© Photo Courtesy New Museum

Maury Rubin, the baker-owner of Manhattan’s irresistible City Bakery, has expanded his eco-visionary Birdbath Bakery Café to the lobby of the New Museum on the Bowery. Seasonal, local salads and sandwiches like turkey-meatball sliders and Rubin’s cult pretzel croissants will be delivered to the New Museum by bicycle-driven cargo rickshaw. Rubin has also created a New Museum Cookie, a chocolate-chip cookie with quinoa and mango, exclusively for the museum outpost. Customers who arrive by bike or skateboard get a 25-percent discount. The funky space with communal tables was designed by Brooklyn-based Uhuru studio, an eco-avant-garde furniture collective.

Bars

Where to Eat, Drink and Sleep in Toronto

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The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) is now in full swing: The dramas! The comedies! The thrillers! And that’s just half of what happens at the parties participating in the TIFF extended bar hours. (Instead of 1 a.m., many bars and restaurants associated with TIFF are allowed to stay open until 4 a.m. during the 10 days of the festival.)

Here are the best spots in Toronto to eat, drink and sleep:

Victor at Le Germain Hotel Try the Social 52 menu, which emphasizes the diversity of neighborhoods—and cuisines—in the city. Dishes could include Korean-inspired ribs and kimchi or Portuguese grilled sardines.

Scarpetta at the Thompson Hotel Star chef Scott Conant's Toronto outpost offers seemingly simple but utterly spectacular spaghetti with tomato sauce, and creamy polenta with truffled mushroom stew.

One at the Hazelton Hotel Where else can you find Clive Owen, Juliette Lewis, a trio of Raptors players and a renowned environmentalist, all under one roof? An absolutely divine starter: the butter-braised lobster spoons.

Avenue in the Four Seasons Toronto Ground central for TIFF for most of its 35 years, the hotel is closing up and moving around the corner in the near future. But for now, it’s still your best shot at hobnobbing with Hollywood—and for a terrific burger with Parmesan frites.

The Roof Lounge at the Park Hyatt Best bar in the city, bar none. It offers amazing panoramic views of the skyline—as well as an elegant Old World room with a fireplace. Have one of the veteran bartenders prepare a classic Canadian cocktail, like the Caesar.

Ingredients

Using End-of-Summer Basil

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© Daniel Gritzer
Poached eggs with basil potatoes

Earlier this summer, a friend brought me a thoughtful house gift: six basil seedlings. They were wispy little things, but once planted in my backyard, they quickly shot up into robust and fragrant plants. For the past few months, I’ve snipped leaves and sprigs as needed, but now that the temperature has started to drop, it’s time to consider harvesting everything before a serious chill ruins all that’s left.

The question, then, is what to do with the sudden glut of the herb? Luckily, it’s easy to turn fresh basil into a puree in a blender with just enough oil to keep things spinning. The puree will keep for a couple of months in the freezer, and once defrosted it can be added to dishes for a wonderful basil kick. It doesn’t have to be too complicated either: I recently tossed boiled fingerling potatoes with a puree of basil, garlic and extra-virgin olive oil (in this case, pounded with a mortar and pestle)—sort of a cheese-less, nut-free pesto (pictured). Bathed with the yolks of two poached eggs, it made for a simple and very delicious brunch.

Farms

Urban Freezer Composting

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F&W's features intern Chelsea Morse has found a new life for her kitchen scraps:


Since starting a small backyard garden in New York City this summer, I’ve been looking for a safe and sanitary way to create a compost pile—without smells, pests or any other unpleasantness. I’ve heard about various under-counter compost systems, but they all sounded potentially messy. A friend recently suggested freezer composting, and now I’m hooked.


Each week, my husband and I fill a plastic bag with our biodegradable kitchen scraps that we then put into the freezer (the cold temperature keeps food from breaking down). We then deliver the frosty bag to the Union Square Greenmarket, where the Lower East Side Ecology Center receives food waste for composting four days a week, year-round. We don’t get to reap the benefits of all that good dirt we’re helping to create (the LESEC processes the waste and then sells the compost at the market), but we feel virtuous about the trash we’re keeping out of landfills—and the urban gardens we’re supporting.

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