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Mouthing Off

By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine

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Midwest Revival

New Takes on Midwestern Comfort Food

Midwestern Restaurant Reinventions

These Midwestern chefs are taking the homey foods of their childhood and modernizing them with spices and progressive techniques.

Butcher & the Boar (Minneapolis)
The Inspiration: Living in St. Paul, a city with a big German population, chef Jack Riebel ate lots of pan-fried pork chops with applesauce.
The Update: Riebel replaces chops with pork sausage and makes a sweet-tart sauce with hard cider, cider vinegar and pureed apples.

Rye (Leawood, KS)
The Inspiration: "Growing up in Kansas City in the 1970s, fried chicken was everywhere," says chef Colby Garrelts. "And then it just disappeared."
The Update: His fried chicken takes three days, starting with brining and ending with a baking powder-spiked batter for an extra-crispy crust.

Senate (Cincinnati)
The Inspiration: Chef Daniel Wright loves hot dogs with sauerkraut: "This area is known for sausages and hot dogs. We have access to incredible meat."
The Update: Wright puts a Korean spin on his beef hot dog, topping it with homemade kimchi, braised short rib and pickled cucumbers.

Related: 100 Restaurants Worth a Pilgrimage: North America
Minneapolis Travel Guide
Best Fried Chicken in the U.S.

F&W Obsessions

What to Eat Late-Night at Chez Panisse

Late-night Steak dinners at Chez Panisse.

The revered locavore restaurant loosens up with late-night steak frites.

One of the more tantalizing anecdotes about Chez Panisse in the mid-1970s (alongside all the sex and drugs and wine-soaked feasting with everybody from James Beard to Jean-Luc Godard) has always been the late-night steak menu that lasted for a few months in 1974. "There was no place to eat late in Berkeley, and it drove me crazy," says owner Alice Waters, who remembers driving all the way to San Francisco's old Vanessi's after work for steak frites. Her solution, bringing in a cook to grill New York strips after the regular staff went home, lost so much money that she banished it to the realm of nostalgia—until last winter. A few months later, when a fire gutted the front of the restaurant, repairs prompted a complete menu redesign, focusing even more attention on the revived late-night steak option.

If a recent Tuesday evening is any indication, bringing back this tradition was a savvy decision. Offered Monday through Thursday, from 9:30 to 10:30 p.m. or so (which passes for late-night in Berkeley), this dinner in the upstairs café is an incredible deal. For $25, diners get a glass of house Zinfandel produced by Napa's Green & Red Vineyard and a 100-percent grass-fed steak from rancher Bill Niman, skillet-roasted in the classic French manner, with marrow butter melting on top and red-wine jus pooling all around. On the side are lacy-thin fried potatoes (more shoelace than shoestring) or onion rings, next to extremely tender and tiny watercress or arugula.

At one time, the notion of late-night steak in sleepy, vegetarian-dense Berkeley would have been unthinkable. But now, when you leave Chez Panisse, the streets are filled with post-theater crowds, and the bar next door is roaring, and everything feels just right.

Related: Cooking Like Alice Waters
San Francisco Travel Guide
Star Chef Tips on Grilling Steak

Editor's Letter

Where Dana Cowin Eats

Glen Ellen Star

"Where have you been eating lately?" I get this question all the time. And luckily, it's one of my favorites to answer, since I have the opportunity to try the most amazing restaurants around the country. So here's a little update of where I've been recently.

Glen Ellen Star, Sonoma
The wood-roasted dishes at this adorable Sonoma spot are both homey and smart—each has at least one little trick that makes it stand out. Roasted beets are topped with harissa crumble; asparagus comes with spicy lavash. And the wine list is short, well-edited and (surprising for wine country) quite international. glenellenstar.com.

Carbone, New York
It took me a long time to stop fixating on the lacquered blue-green walls in the front room: They're bold, old-school, shiny. Then I moved to the back room, where Uma Thurman was standing on a chair to photograph a friend. Even without the celeb sighting, I'd have loved Carbone for nuanced and delicious dishes like the spicy rigatoni with vodka sauce. carbonenewyork.com.

Calliope, New York
At this small bistro, I had perfectly sautéed local trout with Puy lentils, bacon and walnut vinaigrette, and I reveled in the very Frenchness of it all. calliopenyc.com.

Alder, New York
After 10 years of watching Wylie Dufresne nurture one spectacular restaurant, WD-50, I was excited to try this new venture, which promised to be a gastropub interpretation of his hyper-creative vision. My hands-down favorite dish was the New England clam chowder with "oyster crackers," which was both familiar (it's soup!) and unfamiliar (the crackers are made from oysters). aldernyc.com.

Pêche, New Orleans
I stopped counting after 10: That's how many whole fish I saw waiters carrying out to customers at Donald Link's new restaurant. The whole-animal trend has now been embraced by pescatarians. Two friends and I shared a moist, flavorful grilled redfish with salsa verde. It could have served six! pecherestaurant.com.

Element 47, Aspen
Robert McCormick, chef at The Little Nell hotel's renovated restaurant, makes a broth that is the absolute essence of carrot, pure and fresh, then pours it over carrots prepared several ways—shaved raw, grilled, pickled and roasted. element47aspen.com.

Chefs Club, Aspen
Food & Wine has its own restaurant in Aspen's incredible St. Regis hotel. We serve several dishes from former Best New Chefs, including Missy Robbins, Viet Pham, Jason Franey and Bryant Ng . When I was in town for the F&W Classic in June, I ate through practically the entire menu, which also incorporates dishes by executive chef Didier Elena. I love Bryant's ribs at The Spice Table in L.A., and they were fabulous here, too—spicy, meaty, crisp. chefsclubaspen.com.

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Read more from F&W's September issue on travel and America's best chicken.

Chef Intel

Why One Last Evening at Lutèce is Priceless

Chef Andre Soltner at Lutece.

Lutèce; courtesy of chef André Soltner (wearing toque).

The legendary New York City French restaurant Lutèce closed in 2004, but it will be reborn for one night only, on April 16, to benefit University Settlement. Alsace native André Soltner—now the dean of classic studies at the International Culinary Center—opened Lutèce in 1961, just as America’s obsession with food and cooking was beginning. “When we opened 50 years ago, there were restaurants that served canned or frozen food. We were very focused on the best ingredients you can get,” remembers the pioneering chef. During his 35 years behind the stove, Soltner’s celebrity and flawless classic French cuisine attracted New York’s glitterati and the country’s most respected food lovers, including Julia Child.

Soltner will bring back the spirit of Lutèce by orchestrating an extravagant French wine dinner of iconic dishes such as seafood en croûte and tournedos Rossini: filet mignon with foie gras and Madeira sauce. The cost for entry to this once-in-a-lifetime reboot (with dessert from Jacques Torres) starts at $3,000, which will aid the University Settlement’s many programs aimed at uplifting low-income families and immigrants through education, decent housing, and improving physical and emotional well being. Tickets here.

For those whose interest in the French classics is piqued, we asked Soltner to describe some of the incredibly complex dishes that wowed guests during his restaurant’s prime. “People nowadays think classic French cuisine was heavy, but when it was done the right way then it was not. It was very tasty,” he says. Click through the slideshow to see the Endangered French Classics.

Related: 12 Classics to Master
More French Masters

Chef Intel

Next Wave Nordic Rock Star

Copenhagen Chef Matthew Orlando

Chef Matthew Orlando; courtesy of Amass

Food pilgrims have a new reason to visit Copenhagen, land of superstar René Redzepi’s Noma and Christian Puglisi’s Relæ. After more than two years as head chef at Noma, Matthew Orlando, a San Diego native, will debut Amass in a former shipyard in the city’s Refshaleøen district in July.

Read more >

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Chef Musings

Marcus Samuelsson’s Top 5 Fantasy Meals

Stone Town, Zanzibar, Tanzania

Stone Town, Zanzibar, Tanzania; Ariadne Van Zandbergen / Alamy

Here, a look inside the current food dreams of the Top Chef Masters winner and Scandinavian Ethiopian super-chef behind Harlem’s Red Rooster.

1. Peruvian Home-Cooking. One place I haven’t been to yet is Peru. It’s on my list of must-see places and when I go there, I have this fantasy that I’ll meet some local who specializes in making the freshest ceviche and he or she would invite me into their home and show me how it’s really done.

2. Charlie Trotter 2.0. One of the greatest restaurants closed last year, and I would love the chance to go eat at Charlie Trotter’s again. I ate there in 1986 and the fact that it wasn’t in New York wowed me. To eat with the same sensibility and taste as I’ve had in France, but the fact that everyone spoke American—I had to be a part of it and I wish I could revisit his place just one more time.

3. Ethiopian Master Class. When I got married, my wife, Maya, had only one concern at our wedding in Ethiopia: Everyone had to have meat. Little did I realize “everyone” meant her whole village. The taste of kitfo is like nothing else. Kitfo is beef tartare, but it’s not chopped up finely like we’re used to having here—we’re talking about two-inch cubes of raw meat, seasoned with spices and clarified butter and served with ayibe, a mild cheese. I would find that man who taught me how to make kitfo and spend the day learning his tricks.

4. High-Tech Food in Harlem. I would love to eat at a place right here in Harlem where they are employing the latest technological innovations to food. This is something scientists are working on for the future, and I know it sounds wild, but I want to eat printed food. Edible ink that prints food into different shapes—so you can make a scallop look like a chicken nugget, or make carrots into the shape of spaghetti. It would change how we look, think and taste food and I think it would help solve some of the issues we are facing in our health crisis.

5. African Street Food Conference. If you have never been to Stone Town in Zanzibar (Tanzania), it’s definitely a one-of-a-kind place. At night, street food vendors pop up and line the quiet beach, one of the best in the world, and I would love to go to a place where all these street vendors could cook their dishes around me. Like in one room. There you will see and smell such a mix of African, Persian and Indian influences, washed down with a freshly squeezed sugarcane beer.

Related: Marcus Samuelsson Recipes

Expert Guide

How to Hire an Awesome Restaurant Staff, by Eddie Huang

© Jasmin Sun
© Jasmin Sun

© Jasmin Sun

For the past three months, infamously outspoken lawyer-turned-comedian-turned-streetwear designer and chef-restaurateur Eddie Huang has been traveling through California and Taiwan as the host of Vice TV’s Fresh Off the Boat web series. Tomorrow, he’ll add “author” to his growing list of careers when his memoir, also titled Fresh Off the Boat, goes on sale nationwide. In it, he offers insight into building a brand through non-traditional hiring requirements. His first Craigslist ad, for example, was titled, "Baohaus Hiring Multi-Tasking Nice People Who Listen to Ghostface." Here, Huang talks to F&W about why hip-hop lovers make great restaurant employees but culinary school grads don't always work out. His hiring tips. »

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Charity

Recap: Dave Chang and Daniel Boulud for Hurricane Sandy

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Dave Chang and Daniel Boulud at their fundraising event to support Hurricane Sandy relief.

Courtesy of Daniel Boulud

The dinners and food-related events to assist Hurricane Sandy victims are still coming fast and furious. Like Eleven Madison Park's benefit to help rebuild the DUMBO restaurant Governor on November 20th. I applaud every single person who has done something in the kitchen or out of it, to help and urge everyone to keep up their great efforts.
 
I don’t know how most of those fund-raising meals came about. But I did hear the backstory of Momofuku and Café Boulud for NYC, the $495-per-person, one-night-only extravaganza which raised thousands of dollars for the Red Cross on November 2nd. And I got this groovy photo. So I wanted to tell the story.
 
The Players: Superchef Daniel Boulud and Momofuku’s Dave Chang. And Ben Leventhal (Eater.com’s co-founder and food-world rainmaker) who had the idea to bring downtown uptown, then got Boulud and Chang together. Along with Café Boulud chef Gavin Kaysen and a bunch of Momofuku staff who wanted to do something, but couldn’t because their downtown restaurants were closed.
 
The Location: The elite Café Boulud (a place where Chang was once a harried line cook).
 
The Complications: Chang was in Toronto during the Hurricane; his return flight was repeatedly cancelled. So the chef jumped in a rental car and drove back to NYC. Stories of speeding tickets and empty gas tanks can’t be confirmed or denied.
 
The Café Boulud & Momofuku Menu:
scallop - chick-pea miso, tamari
matsutake agnolotti - buckwheat, french toast
veal sweetbreads - yuzu kosho, labne, asian pear
foie gras - lychee, pine nut
duck - wild rice, apple, brussels sprouts

To book seats at Eleven Madison Park's dinner in support of Governor restaurant on November 20th, call 212-995-0905.

And for more on Boulud and Chang, and another great photo of the two together, check out the Toronto story in the December issue of F&W (I happened to write it).

Related: Learn about #DineOutNYC
Daniel Boulud Recipes
David Chang Recipes

 

Expert Guide to Mobile Restaurants

NYC's Vendy Superstars Name the Best Food Trucks

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Ceviche at Pestle & Mortar // © Jasmin Sun

Ceviche at Pestle & Mortar // © Jasmin Sun

“Especially in NYC, you don’t always have time to eat at a restaurant—sometimes you just need to grab something and go,” says Will Edwards of Peruvian-inspired Pestle & Mortar, which was among the finalists for best market vendor at the eighth annual Vendy Awards on Saturday.

In an act of meta proportions, F&W asked some of the amazing street food specialists attending the awards event for food truck recommendations of their own. They’re not part of any foodie craze, they’re not Plan B-career types. They’re auténtico, and they’re super delicious. »

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Trendspotting

3 Southeast Asian Restaurants to Try Now

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Chef Grace Nguyen of Asian Box, Palo Alto

© GoodEye Photography

Southeast Asian cuisine is inspiring some of the coolest new restaurants in the U.S. Here are some places to try now. Read more >

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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.