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Mouthing Off

By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine

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More on Mario’s Super Bowl Super Party

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© Melanie Dunea

I know it’s early to say the Jets are going to the Super Bowl. But like every other Gang Green fan, I’m sure it’s going to happen. And that’s not the only reason to get excited about Miami on Super Bowl weekend. More details are emerging about superstar chef Mario Batali’s Super Brunch, which he’s hosting February 6 at the Viceroy Miami, the day before the Super Bowl. He’s co-hosting with Phillies All-Star pitcher Jamie Moyer. (How did Moyers get to know Batali? Cute story. When Moyers pitched in Seattle, he’d stop at the excellent cured meat spot Salumi on his way to the ballpark; Salumi is owned by Batali’s father Armandino).

Back to the Super Brunch party. Mario will be cooking with his friends Emeril Lagasse and Michael Psilakis of Anthos in NYC (and an F&W Best New Chef 2008). We’ll all be doing a couple of our favorite dishes,” says Batali, which means he menu includes cute little sausage and pepper sandwiches, savory chestnut crepes with ricotta and Emeril’s world -famous bbq shrimp with rosemary biscuits. Besides that, Jimmy Fallon will tell jokes, Jimmy Buffet will mix some cocktails and some singers will further entertain the party (more on that soon). Tickets are pricey—$1,000 each, available here—but all benefits go to both the Mario Batali Foundation (which empowers children) and the Moyers Foundation Camp Erin (which helps kids deal with death). Besides, it will also be your chance to mingle with a bunch of hungry athletes, including a few Jets, if they’re not too busy focusing on the big game. After all, they’re fans of Mario’s. Both coach Rex Ryan and quarterback Mark Sanchez have been spotted at Babbo during the regular season.

Farms

Sneak Peek: Jean-Georges Vongerichten's ABC Kitchen

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In February, New York City will get Jean-Georges Vongerichten's take on farm-to-table cuisine at ABC Kitchen, a roughly 150-seat café inside ABC Carpet & Home that will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner and fresh juices at a juice bar. Vongerichten is working with ABC CEO Paulette Cole on the design, sourcing as locally as possible; that includes plates from Bella Porcelain, made by Cole's childhood friend Jan Burtz. (There are a few exceptions: The bar is made out of a church altar from Mexico.) The menu is still in progress, but Vongerichten would like to source all ingredients from within 100 miles of the store. Dishes will be dead simple, Vongerichten promises—mostly ones he makes for his own family. "We want to do what Alice Waters did in the 1970s," he says. "Handwritten menus, changing daily, seasonal food." Chef de cuisine Dan Kluger won't churn his own butter, but he will make his own yogurt: They had a test batch in the oven when I stopped by yesterday. Pictures after the jump.

 

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Ingredients

Philadelphia's Green Aisle Grocery

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Green Aisle Grocery in Philadelphia.

© Adam Erace
Green Aisle Grocery in Philadelphia.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At F&W lately, we’ve been talking about the reinvention of the general store. My favorite new example is Green Aisle Grocery in South Philadelphia, opened by Philadelphia Weekly restaurant critic Adam Erace and his brother Andrew. Are there cult favorites like Stumptown coffee, Anson Mills grits and DRY soda? Check. But the thimble-sized space also manages to stock locavore staples like pastured eggs, seasonal produce and grass-fed milk (including raw milk—for the cats, of course). And cocktail hounds will love the Fee Brothers bitters and Q Tonic water. (Sadly, only state-controlled stores are allowed to sell liquor in Pennsylvania.) Perhaps the most exciting items for sale are the prepared foods from Philadelphia restaurants—Zahav chef Michael Solomonov’s hummus, Pierre Calmel’s pumpkin bread from the white-hot Bibou, and the seasonal mostarde from James's Jim Burke (an F&W Best New Chef2008). If you’re not quite local (and gosh, I wish I were), you can order products by e-mailing the Erace brothers at greenaisle@gmail.com.

Recipes

David Beckham, Foodie?

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One of these things is not like the others: sports hero, fashion icon, glitterati mainstay, culinary student.

David Beckham, one of the world’s most recognizable athletes, seems increasingly set on mastering all things gastronomic. Since launching his healthy food line from GO3 back in 2008, Beckham has shuttled between Major League Soccer’s Los Angeles Galaxy and AC Milan, and it seems his most recent spell in Milan has inspired Beckham to enroll in a 120-hour cooking class concentrating on the finer points of Italian cuisine (as Eater reported yesterday from The Daily Mirror). While Beckham already mastered fresh pasta, ragù and carbonara, he has stated that the ever-tricky risotto looms. To help him avoid embarrassment in the kitchen classroom, we suggest a recipe from a pro: a version of the classic Milanese Risotto from F&W's Grace Parisi.

Cocktails

Big Star in Chicago

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When I vacationed in Chicago last weekend, my first stop was star chef Paul Kahan’s latest bar and taqueria, Big Star. The large rectangular bar that dominates the space holds two of Big Star’s three specialties: some 50-odd bourbons and a couple dozen tequilas. The other specialty comes from the kitchen: tacos—hundreds of tacos.

Tapping along to a Loretta Lynn record, I elbowed my way to the bar to order a drink, from a list conceived by the team from the adjacent cocktail haven The Violet Hour. I started with a San Antonio Sling, a bracing combination of tequila, St-Germain and grapefruit. I followed that with the Hud, an Old Fashioned–like lowball heavy on the bourbon and light on the citrus—tangerine, in this case. Then I turned to food. First up was a fondue-like casserole of rajas chiles, house-made chorizo and cheese. A quartet of tacos followed: lamb, al pastor (marinated pork) and my two favorites, poblano with queso (cheese) and pork belly. The food was delicious, and with nothing exceeding five dollars, also a bargain.

When the weather gets warmer, Big Star will offer a huge alfresco dining area. As long as the music remains louder than the nearby El train, Big Star will be a party few will want to leave.

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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.