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Mouthing Off

By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine

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Scoop: Danny Meyer on the Gramercy Park Hotel Roof

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Nick Anderer will oversee the menu on Gramercy Park Hotel's roof.

There was no shortage of April Fool’s Day jokes yesterday. My favorite was an announcement that the nomadic Sichuan chef Peter Chang would be opening Changri-la, a private supper club in Atlanta at constantly changing, password-secured locations where he wouldn’t even be cooking. But this isn’t a joke. As the New York Post’s Page 6 reported a few months ago, über-restaurateur Danny Meyer is in development on a place on the roof of the Gramercy Park Hotel, home to his great new Roman-style trattoria, Maialino. But it won’t be, as some people speculated, a Shake Shack. Instead, Maialino’s talented chef, Nick Anderer, will oversee the menu, which might or might not be Italian, but will definitely not be Maialino Upstairs. I want to say that Meyer will keep the roof-top bar private, but now it's too late for April Fool's Day jokes.

Restaurants

Stalking Peter Chang

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There I was in Atlanta last weekend when I got the news. Atlanta Cuisine had just reported that Peter Chang was back in town, cooking at Tasty China in Marietta, Georgia. (I’d just been reading about Chang in the New Yorker where Calvin Trillin chronicled the nomadic chef and the mania his remarkable Szechuan cooking engenders. Trillin went on to name check dishes like Tu Chia style roast pork meat bread and roast fish with green onion; I got addicted without even trying them.) I became Chang's latest stalker and called Tasty China (repeatedly) where they told me he was “on vacation.” So I skipped it. Now, thanks to some intrepid reporting on ATL’s Creative Loafing blog Omnivore, I understand that what they were really saying is that he was on vacation at Tasty China. But there’s even later-breaking Chang news on Omnivore. On April 1st, a press release went out–in Chinese!–reporting that the disappearing chef would open a private supper club in the outskirts of Atlanta. There’s a constantly changing, undisclosed location and secret passwords, plus Chang won’t actually be cooking. The place’s name – Changri-la. An April Fool’s Day joke? I’m not even sure anymore.

Baking

Terrific Passover Desserts

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© Quentin Bacon

I've always viewed Passover desserts as a bit like magic tricks, since no flour or leavening agents like baking powder and baking soda are allowed. But there are still plenty of fantastic desserts, from chocolate cakes to macaroons (one of the secrets to amazing unleavened desserts is in the wrist action involved in making snowy whipped egg whites). Here, five desserts for the five nights of Passover still left, like strawberry-red-wine sorbet with crushed meringue, flourless chocolate almond cakes and Mexican chocolate pots de crème (pictured).

Pairings

Don't Jerky Me Around!

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Well, that headline doesn't actually mean much, but it was hard to resist. The point is, I've discovered my new favorite wine snack: the beef jerky that chef John Schenk (F&W Best New Chef '95) has added to the bar menu at the Strip House steakhouses in Houston and New York—and will in theory soon be adding to all the other Strip Houses around the country.

Strip House Beef Jerky

This tiny photo doesn't quite do it justice. What Schenk does is take prime strip loin, cut it into strips, pound it lightly till it's thin, then marinate it in minced garlic, ground coriander, curry powder, dark brown sugar, black pepper, soy sauce, oyster sauce, thyme, chopped cilantro, lime juice, and red wine vinegar—whew—for at least 24 hours. He pulls it out of the marinade, dries it in a 200 degree oven for somewhere up to 40 minutes or so, cools it, refrigerates it, then fries it to order in goose fat. (Because, you know, why the heck not fry it in goose fat?) And it's served with fried onions. It's slightly sweet, tender and chewy at once, excellently beefy, much more reminiscent of Hong Kong-style beef jerky than of the leathery, black, mesquite-smoked stuff I remember from being a kid in Texas. And I can tell you, it goes fantastically well with a big red wine.

If it sounds intriguing, you have two options: go to Strip House and order it, or, if you just have a general hankering for jerky, wait till our June issue when we're running a whole jerky article. Your call.

News

Hello Kitty Wine

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There's been plenty of buzz about this in the past day or so, but it's still such an oddball concept that it bears—well, I'm not sure what it bears. But anyway, some company called Innovation Spirits has released a Hello Kitty line of wines, complete with that ultra-kawaii kitty cat on the label (on the sparkling wine, it's dressed in what looks like pink-leopard-print footie pajamas with a hood, a bit like Kenny's outfit on South Park—but we all know what happens to him). I haven't tasted them yet. I suppose it's my duty as a wine journalist, but I have to admit I'm kind of terrified.

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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.