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Mouthing Off

By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine

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News

Peet's Coffee with a Mission

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© Carole Hemmings

Drink smooth, delicious coffee and help small-scale farmers in East Africa break out of the poverty cycle. That's the goal behind Uzuri African Blend, Peet's Coffee & Tea's first new permanent coffee blend in eight years. With the help of nonprofit TechnoServe, Peet's coffee buyers have been training 6,000 farmers in Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda to improve their harvesting and processing techniques for the beans that go into Uzuri (Peet's then pays them an estimated 30 percent more than they would normally get). The ultimate goal: to train and improve the lives of some 180,000 East African farmers. Starting March 3, Peet's will sell Uzuri through its coffeehouses and at Peets.com; and for a limited time through March 31, it will be available nationwide at Whole Foods Market, Wegman's and Safeway.

Chefs

Olympic Update: Seafood Winners

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blue water

© Amy Rosen
An Unsung Heroes dish at Blue Water Café.


The Unsung Heroes menu at Blue Water Café is chef Frank Pabst’s month-long initiative highlighting lesser-known coastal ingredients from responsibly managed fisheries. The special menu is usually offered in February, when some of the more popular species (wild salmon, halibut) aren't in season, though many of the Unsung dishes are available year round. I tried a beautiful jellyfish salad mounded on thinly sliced cucumber and grated daikon. A marinated herring dish includes the crunch of green apple and a fresh coriander crème fraîche. But I especially loved the flying squid and fennel “pasta” with a creamy red sea urchin sauce.

Bonus points: The restaurant is offering a free bottle of Nicolas Feuillatte champagne to medal winners. So far Maelle Ricker, Women's Snowboard Cross (Gold), and Mike Robertson, Men's Snowboard Cross (Silver), have enjoyed the celebratory bubbles.

1095 Hamilton St.; 604-688-8078 or bluewatercafe.net.

Events

Tom Colicchio’s Hungry In America Project

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© Patrick McMullan
Natalie Portman and Tom Colicchio at Hungry in America fundraiser

I’m always impressed when someone can take a scary bad situation and provide hope—which is what happened at Sunday night’s Hungry in America fund-raiser at Colicchio & Sons in Manhattan. Hungry in America is a documentary (out next year) and multimedia campaign to raise awareness of the terrible problem of hunger in this country. According to Feeding America (a hunger-relief charity), one in eight households relied on emergency food assistance last year, and 17 million children didn’t know where their next meal was going to come from. Future numbers will almost certainly be higher.

Here’s why there’s hope. In the 1970s, the U.S. went a long way towards solving the problem of hunger (according to the team behind Hungry in America). And President Obama has pledged to end childhood hunger by 2015.

Here's why else there's hope: Hungry in America involves an impressive stable of people. Tom Colicchio, who hosted the event, is an executive producer of the project, and his award-winning filmmaker wife, Lori Silverbush, co-directed the documentary. Natalie Portman was there: She co-hosted the fund-raiser (Jake Gyllenhaal was there, too, to support the cause). When he wasn’t having a long, animated conversation with Gyllenhaal, Colicchio was at the restaurant’s wood-burning oven, preparing items from T&C’s Tap Room menu, including awesome bone marrow topped with anchovies. Alongside him were Boston’s Michael Schlow, who served ponzu-glazed tuna sashimi and tempura bits, and Rocco diSpirito, who passed out short ribs with truffled taro root. I’m not sure if Portman sampled any of the food—she’s a vegan—but she did spend time near the oven with the Spotted Pig’s Ken Friedman, discussing the fact that his newest place, the Breslin, had a surprising number of vegetarian dishes that she could eat when she was there last week.

And more hopeful news from the NYC event: Some 300-plus people were there, raising $200,000 for Hungry in America. The next fund-raiser is in Los Angeles at Craft on February 28, where Nancy Silverton and Suzanne Goin will cook, and people like Ben Affleck are expected to attend; tickets are still available.

Restaurants

Olympic Update: Where the Athletes Eat

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Chad Hedrick, Speed Skating, USA: "Rodney's Oyster House has a laid-back atmosphere with excellent oysters and other seafood." 1228 Hamilton St.; 604-609-0080 or rohvan.com.

Alexa Loo, Snowboarding, Canada: The Richmond, BC, native loves Glowbal  
Grill in Yaletown, known for its decadent lobster grilled cheese  
sandwiches. 1079 Mainland St.; 604-629-3424 or glowbalgrill.com.

Evan Lysacek, Figure Skating, USA: The gold medalist had brunch  
at Yew at the Four Seasons Vancouver before his winning skate. 791  
W. Georgia St.; 604- 689-9333 or fourseasons.com/Vancouver
.

Debbie McCormick, Curling, USA: The U.S. curling team member plans on  
visiting the Cellar Jazz Club, which serves snacks like yam  
frites and spicy edamame. 3611 W. Broadway St.; 604-738-1959 or  
cellarjazz.com.

Shaun White, Snowboarding, USA: The gold medalist has been spotted  
celebrating in Vancouver's Granville Entertainment District at the  
two-story Republic club, which has a towering, backlit bar. 958  
Granville St., 604-669-3266; dhmbars.ca.

Hayley Wickenheiser, Hockey, Canada: The three-time Olympic medalist  
was chosen to deliver the athletes' oath at the 2010 opening ceremony.  
Wickenheiser loves Vij's imaginative Indian dishes, like marinated  
lamb popsicles with cream curry, and Miku's aburi-style  
(lightly torched) sushi. Vij's, 1480 W. 11th Ave.; 604-736-6664 or  
vijs.ca. Miku, #2 – 1055 W. Hastings St.; 604-568-3900 or  
mikurestaurant.com.

Restaurants

David Bouley's New Japanese Obsession

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bouley

© Danielle Falcone
Bouley's Japanese bites on imari porcelain.

 

Last night, star chef David Bouley  turned his fabulous Tribeca test kitchen into a showroom for the latest interpretations of Imari porcelain, a style of porcelain made in the tiny town of Arita in Japan’s Saga prefecture. Young artists and designers like Tsuji Satoshi are making cool new designs inspired by traditional style. Bouley plans to use many of the pieces at his forthcoming Japanese restaurant. And of course, the dishes weren't left empty. Bouley, along with chefs Isao Yamada and Tadao Miakmi (Bouley Upstairs), Noriyuki Sugie and chefs from the Tsuji Culinary Institute of Japan prepared some ridiculously good dishes using wild Japanese ingredients like barafu, a leafy green that looks like it's covered in dew, with a salty taste and great crunch.

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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.