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Mouthing Off

By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine

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Restaurants

Curry Chicken from One of Joe Jonas’s Favorite Chefs

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Chicken Dance spotlights a fantastic Food & Wine chicken recipe every day.

Susan Feniger

© Photo courtesy of Border Grill
Susan Feniger

Joe Jonas is quite the foodie, according to today’s New York Times profile of the pop star. The middle Jonas brother, who appeared on last season's Top Chef as a guest judge, discussed his desire to start a food blog, his new solo career, and how he idolizes chefs like Ferran Adrià, Mario Batali, Tim Love and Susan Feniger. "If there’s a chef I really like, I will freak, because I think their talent is so different from what I do," Jonas said. Don't freak, but Feniger’s sweet, sour and spicy curry chicken recipe should get you excited too.

Restaurants

How to Embarrass Yourself in a Nice Restaurant

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Upscale restaurants get busier in the fall as diners snap out of the summer's casual mode and start getting excited for serious food prepared by top chefs. Here, five mistakes to avoid if you want to come away like a dining-out pro.

© Theo Morrison
Wine pairings may offer more than a buzz.

1. Underdress. It's easy enough to call ahead to inquire about a dress code, but even if the suggestions are fairly vague, like “business casual,” you can try to show some decorum. No one wants to see a man's hairy legs in shorts (Mario Batali being exempt from this), and if a woman's dress is cut down to here or up to there, you can bet the line cooks have already heard about it. Also, forget flip-flops.

2. Fake an allergy. The topic of how restaurants deal with food allergies turned up on Grub Street and Inside Scoop SF recently, and both articles touched on finicky eaters who feign allergies to avoid dislikes. In top restaurants, chefs will often individualize tasting menus so allergy-prone diners can fully experience the cuisine (see: Thomas Keller’s gluten-free brioche). This takes a lot of effort. So, if you demand a gluten-free menu because you’re trying to avoid carbs, you better not get caught tucking into the breadbasket.

3. Drink the finger bowl. If a small, pretty bowl containing hot water scented with lemon or herbs comes between courses, it’s not a palate cleanser or an under-seasoned soup. Drinking this is the fine-dining equivalent of eating a Wet-Nap.

4. Heavy petting. Sweet displays of affection might include a nuzzle, hand-holding across the table, and a kiss or two, but it’s best to keep your hands and mouth focused on the food. Footsie and bathroom adventures might be popular these days, but it’s unwise to experiment in a restaurant you might like to return to someday.

5. Get drunk. The likelihood of the above happening, along with every classic blooper (toilet paper on your shoes, skirt tucked into your tights, FALLING), rises exponentially with your consumption of alcohol. Many wine pairings provide more alcohol than diners can tolerate, so even if you paid as much for the pairing as you did for dinner, try to mind your limit. Plus, the lasting value of an amazing meal dwindles if portions of your memory are blacked out.

Related: 5 Signs You've Picked a Bad Restaurant
5 Ways to Screw Up a Wine Pairing
More What Not to Dos

Restaurants

Party Time at Mandarin Oriental Paris

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Michelin-starred chef Thierry Marx made the Mandarin Oriental Paris's party food.

I hate to miss a good party. And it sounds like I missed a pretty spectacular one last week, as the Mandarin Oriental Paris celebrated its official launch. Among the people I would have liked to hang out with: Liam Neeson and Maggie Cheung, and Pierre Gagnaire, one of the world’s all-time great chefs). Michelin-two-starred chef Thierry Marx did the party food—of course he did, he does all the food for the hotel, most especially the impossible to get into Sur Mesure par Thierry Marx.

© kate krader
Thierry Marx's outrageous brioche.

But don’t feel too sorry for me missing the party, because I did get to see the Mandarin Oriental Paris earlier this summer and was just fine. I loved the Swarovski-crystal-lined walls in the lobby, the Diptyque shampoos in the bath and the outrageous brioche in the breakfast bread basket and at the Cake Shop. And I found my new hero, hotel concierge Adrian Moore, who knows every single thing about the Paris food scene and has an excellent blog to prove it.

For more on the Mandarin Oriental Paris, and the fantastic hotel scene in Paris right now, check out the awesome Paris Travel Guide in the October issue of Food & Wine.

Restaurants

Top 5 Trends in Restaurant Desserts

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Since I'm pretty obsessed with finding great desserts, I spend a lot of time examining pastry menus from all over the country. Here are some of the biggest trends turning up on early fall menus.

Upside-Down Cake Recipe

© Tina Rupp
Upside-Down Cake.

1. Black pepper. Salt continues to be popular, but now pastry chefs are experimenting with pepper, which adds a mild heat to desserts like tuiles, sablés and even cheesecake.

2. Brown sugar. Obviously brown sugar is nothing new, but now it's being called out as the title ingredient in pavlovas, tea cakes, pound cakes and cookies. This recipe for simple Iced Brown Sugar Cookies from Baked in Brooklyn is a great way to embrace the trend at home.

3. Chocolate crémeux. The French word just translates to "creamy." The silky, pudding-like dessert seems to be the new darling on pastry menus. For an Italian take on this classic, try this Milk Chocolate Cremoso recipe.

4. Duck fat, lard and foie gras. These fatty faves are adding a savory element to cookies, profiteroles and even s'mores.

5. Upside-down cakes. Pluot, peach, blueberry, black plum, and of course pineapple are some of the fruits starring in this easy cake. The most interesting fruit in rotation has to be tomato, seen at Clyde Common in Portland, Oregon. Here's our recipe for the perfect upside-down cake.

Related: 30 Beautiful Desserts
Delicious Chocolate Desserts
Fabulous Apple Dessert Recipes

 

Restaurants

Eat Ribs, Help a Future Chef

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© Courtesy of Bravo
Chef Tom Colicchio playing guitar


On Monday night NYC’s Hill Country Barbecue will host Restaurant Industry Night, the first in a quarterly series of events that recognizes different industries and related charities and celebrates them through food and music. Star chef Tom Colicchio will hit the stage with his guitar, no doubt taking inspiration from Season 9 of Top Chef, which he recently filmed in Texas. The event will raise money for the Careers Through Culinary Arts (C-CAP) scholarship program, which helps prepare high school students in underserved communities for restaurant careers.

If you can’t make it to the event, here are some amazing Texas-inspired barbecue recipes from chef Tim Love to try at home.

Sticky Barbecued Beef Ribs

Braised Pork Shanks

Grilled Texas Rib Eye

Charro Beans

Chiles Rellennos

Restaurants

F&W Exclusive: Star Chef David Thompson's Thailand-in-NYC Dinner

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Betel is the place to find David Thompson and his exceptional Thai food.

All the NYC-based Thai-food fanatics who are mad that Chicago has Grant Achatz going full force on his Tour of Thailand menu at Next, this is for you. Thai-food superstar chef David Thompson— who made a name for himself at Sydney’s awesome Sailors Thai and scored the first-ever Michelin starred for a Thai restaurant at London's Nahm—is coming to Manhattan. On October 5, he’ll cook at Betel, the groovy Southeast Asian restaurant in the West Village.
 
And Thompson is bringing gifts. Specifically, kanom jin noodles flown in from Thailand, which you never see fresh in the United States. As part of his three-course dinner, he’ll serve them three different ways, including with smoky grilled fish and shrimp curry.
 
The wine-paired dinner is $150 (including tip). For reservations, call 212-352-0460 or email guestchef@betelnyc.com. There’s also an open-bar after-party (yay!) starting at 11 p.m., where you might be able to ask Thompson your Thai cooking questions; those tickets are $40.

Restaurants

F&W Exclusive: M. Wells Returns to Long Island City

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The All-Clad Food Truck is Ready for the M Wells team.

Here’s good news for everyone who wants to see M. Wells and their outrageous cooking back in Queens. On Sunday, September 25, from 1 to 3 pm, chef Hugue Dufour and his wife, Sarah Obraitis, will be in Long Island City cooking on the All-Clad Food Truck. What’s more, they’ll be serving their much-heralded sautéed veal brains (the New York Times's Sam Sifton called them a "must-order"). What’s more still: Those veal brains will be free.

The well-outfitted All-Clad Truck will be on the move before that: Ditch Plain’s Marc Murphy will set it up outside Sur La Table locations on Wednesday, September 21st. And next week, Elizabeth Karmel will take it to the Hill Country Barbecue neighborhood. It’s all to celebrate All-Clad’s 40thAnniversary. And the party goes on through October 1.

And here's details for September 25: M. Wells on the All-Clad Truck will be on Center Blvd. near 48th Ave., in Queens. You can get more info on Twitter or Facebook.

Recipes

Award: Best Dish of the Weekend

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© kate krader
Bad Pic of a Great Dish: Inaki's Beef with Chive Salad

In honor of Emmy Awards Sunday, I'm handing out a prize of my own: best dish of the weekend.

Competition was stiff: By my count, there were a trillion excellent food–related events in NYC on Saturday and Sunday.

Among the highlights: Brooklyn Local, which brought together top Brooklyn purveyors (shout out to Ample Hills Creamery’s aptly named Salted Caramel Crack ice cream), and restaurants (such as my local spot Seersucker), all to benefit City Harvest. Also the Travel + Leisure Global Bazaar which starred chefs like José Andrés and Marcus Samuelsson. And don't forget the Feast of San Gennaro, featuring sticky ribs from Torrisi Italian Specialties and a short rib patty melt from Dewey Dufresne, the dad of WD-50’s Wylie Dufresne.

But I cast my vote for the absolute best-tasting dish of the weekend to one served at Le Grand Fooding Campfire Session: beef with chive salad. There was no campfire in sight; then again, the French-based Le Fooding’s events don’t always make sense. Who cares: The “campfire” featured Inaki Aizpitarte from Paris’s Le Chateaubriand. Inaki seared the beef beautifully but the chive salad made it, and here’s what was in it: chives, yes, and coriander seeds, buckwheat, flax seed, cocoa nibs, lemon juice and browned French butter, which worked better than American butter. It was crazy good, and I’m not even factoring in how cool it was to have LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy acting as saucier.   

Beer

NYC Craft Beer Week Kicks Off Today

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Passport

© NY Beer Week
NY Beer Week Passport

The 4th Annual NY Craft Beer Week starts today and goes through Sunday, September 25. Beer Passports are available for $10 online, or as an iPhone or Droid app, and include a complete list of events as well as coupons for $3 beers at hundreds of local bars. Some highlights by the numbers:
 
- 6 courses of chef Bobby Hellen’s fantastic Belgian-inspired food at Resto on Monday 9/19 for the Ultimate Brewmaster's Degustation Beer Dinner, with two beer pairings per course. Call 212-685-5585 for reservations.

- 10 days to take part in Beer Week events that include tastings, music festivals and pub crawls.
 
- 21 breweries pouring special beers paired with charcuterie, cheese and chocolate at the Brewer’s Choice pairing event at City Winery on the 22nd.
 
- $40 to attend the September 24 Have Beer, Will Travel event at Hudson Terrace and taste 50 obscure beers from NY and Canada.
 
- 150 mile radius of NYC: Eight breweries in this range will participate in the Just Food: Let Us Eat Local Annual Fundraiser on the 21st. Restaurants providing food include ABC Kitchen, Gramercy Tavern and the Spotted Pig, among others. A portion of proceeds from the evening will go to farmers impacted by Hurricane Irene.

Related: Great American Beer, Bourbon and More

Farms

Eating Spanish Food at Tertulia Supports Vermont

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© Colin Clark
Chef Seamus Mullen

Vermont native Seamus Mullen takes a seasonal, product-driven approach to Spanish food at his new NYC restaurant, Tertulia, and starting tonight he's showing support for farmers and residents in his home state, where Hurricane Irene caused serious damage. From September 14 through 17, guests can donate any amount on their checks and the restaurant will match a portion of it, up to $50. It's a nice excuse to try Mullen's Asturian-inspired menu, with dishes like mackerel with white beans and roasted and pickled peppers, or chorizo with garbanzos and Cabrales cheese—plus there's cider on tap. Proceeds go to Upper Valley Haven, a leader in the relief efforts.

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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.

Run with chefs and wine experts in the Celebrity Chef 5K and dance all night at Gail Simmons’ Last Bite Dessert Party during the FOOD & WINE Classic in Aspen, June 20-22.