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Mouthing Off

By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine

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Restaurants

The Great Pumpkin Carving Contest at DBGB

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© Georgette Farkas
DBGB's Wining All Pumpkin Yankee Burger

At DBGB, chef Daniel Boulud’s downtown NYC bistro, the burgers have a powerful allure and not just for customers. When it came time for DBGB’s First Annual Pumpkin Carving contest, some 20 cooks and front-of-the-house staffers got out their carving knives and went crazy, two of them successfully channeling two of the restaurant’s signature burgers, the Frenchie and the Yankee. Both won prizes. Here’s a recap of the awards, where the first-place pumpkin-carvers won dinner at DB Bistro Moderne and the runners-up got Food & Wine cookbooks and magazine subscriptions.

Awards
1st Place Kitchen: Adi’s Yankee Burger Pumpkin. Every single detail was made from pumpkin, including the accompanying fries (extra credit for the grill marks on the burger).

1st Place Front of House: Zakir’s Disco Pumpkin
. The only multimedia pumpkin, this one contained strobe lights and haunted-house sound effects.

[More]

Recipes

Halloween at Food & Wine’s Office

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© Alessandra Bulow
From left: Rory Tischler, Jon (Smooth) Varriano & Seton Rossini man the bar at The Old F&W Art Saloon

Halloween is two days away but the art department staff of Food & Wine’s marketing team is kicking off the festivities today by transforming their office space into The Old F&W Art Saloon. In addition to dressing up in awesome 19th-century Western costumes, they’re serving beef chili with beans, buttery corn bread and fantastic homemade black pepper beef jerky.

(Last year they dressed as the Simmons Family including Top Chef judge and F&W’s own Gail Simmons, Gene Simmons and Richard Simmons—no relation.)

Scrounging for a last-minute Halloween costume or party idea? Get inspiration from F&W's Dress Like a Chef and Halloween Party slideshows.

Cookbooks

News for Salt Fiends

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At The Meadow, in Portland, Oregon, Mark Bitterman has spent the past five years selling a mind-boggling array of salts, from Japanese deep-sea salts to rose pink Himalayan salt blocks. Former F&W Best New Chefs like Naomi Pomeroy and Gabriel Rucker pop in not just for the salts but also for Mark's expertise, since he's spent years experimenting with all of his inventory. Now there are two ways for people who don't live in Portland to get a bit of Mark's advice, too. The first is his new cookbook, Salted, which is a field guide to artisan salts complete with recipes. The second is a class at The Meadow's new branch in Manhattan. The West Village shop is unofficially open this week; tonight Mark offers his first salt-tasting class, which will focus on finishing salts. Tickets are $30, and the event also includes wine tasting.

Restaurants

Pay For Dinner by Text Message

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Most restaurants encourage diners to keep their phones out of the dining room (the Home Ranch in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, actually collects them in a basket upon entering the restaurant). But Pod restaurant in Philadelphia is giving diners a reason to take out their phones. It has partnered with Xipwire, a mobile payment service, and is the first restaurant in the country that allows people to pay for dinner by text message. Other STARR restaurants plan to implement the service later this year.

Restaurants

Laurent Gras Proves Why He’s Food & Wine’s Fittest Chef

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© Jen Leuzzi
Ken Vendrinski, Laurent Gras & George Hincapie Ride for Hope

Laurent Gras, chef at L2O in Chicago, isn’t just one of the best cooks in the country. He’s also one of the world’s fittest guys, according to Men’s Fitness (seriously). No surprise, he made the cut to be one of F&W’s fittest chefs, too.

My friend, food blogger Jen Leuzzi (aka Mrs. Laurent Gras), tells how all that led to LG’s participation in the 100-kilometer charity Ride for Hope in Charleston, South Carolina, this past weekend.

At a dinner prepared with Laurent, chef Ken Vedrinski of Charleston's Trattoria Lucca stood with pro cycling champion George Hincapie and recounted this story:

Food & Wine magazine did a story on the 10 fittest chefs in America—and I was one of them and so was Laurent Gras; we’re both cyclists. I thought I’d really like to cook with him, but how do we get him down here? George is how. I cold-called Laurent and invited him down to do the Ride for Hope with George and cook a dinner afterwards, and here we are.

At the after-party down the street at Enoteca, Gras and Vedrinksi offered their services to George’s BMC team for the 2011 Tour de France (teams travel with their own chefs). Ken said he’d cook for one week. Laurent agreed for the week in the Alps. Haute cuisine, indeed.

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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.