F&W Free Preview All You Coastal Living Cooking Light Food and Wine tab Health myRecipes Southern Living Sunset
My F&W
quick save (...)

Mouthing Off

By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine

RSS
Restaurants

Adrian Grenier Stars at the International Gourmet Festival

default-image

© Vila Joya
Adrian Grenier, Peter Glatzer and I are psyched about SHFT house wines.

It’s a busy time for food-festival groupies. South Beach Wine & Food Festival is coming soon (February 23–26!), then you've got to get to California for Pebble Beach Food & Wine (April 12–15) and before you know it, it’s the 30th anniversary of the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen (June 15–17).
 
Now I’m obsessed with the just-wrapped International Gourmet Festival. The 10-day festival, at Vila Joya in Portugal’s beachy Algarve region, featured dinners with a million Michelin starred chefs. Well, 33 of them, and they came from all over Europe and the US (The Spotted Pig’s April Bloomfield, SHO’s Shaun Hergatt and Laurent Gras all represented for USA). Also running around were awesome food-loving celebs like Adrian Grenier, who, with filmmaker Peter Glatzer brought his new eco-friendly SHFT house wine (you’ll hear more about it the April issue of F&W), Sheryl Crow and Michael Imperioli. Plus a Russian billionaire who flew his plane to Paris to pick up some vodka and caviar for a party. Here are a few highlights from this year’s International Gourmet Festival.
 
Epic Dinner: In my idea of the ultimate potluck, a dozen elite chefs worth 20 Michelin stars combined to cook a 10-course dinner. That meal ran the gamut from a gorgeous foie gras starter topped with shredded crab and fermented cabbage sauce, from the three-starred Dutch chef Jonnie Boer, to a hearty main-course goulash from the Frankfurt chef Mario Lohninger (whom I still miss from his time at NYC’s Danube).
 
Epic After-Party: Adrian Grenier’s late-night DJ gig at Le Club, one of those awesome, cheesy Euro discos that becomes a lot better when someone’s playing decent music. Extra credit to Grenier—he’d spent the afternoon pouring his SHFT wine, and then woke up early the next day (well, at 1 p.m., which is early in the Algarve) to race go-karts.
 
Epic Day Trip: An expedition to Lisbon (it’s two hours away, when a German guy is driving a BMW). There we got to have the insane, custardy de Belem pastries for breakfast, a killer lunch at chef Jose Avillez’s 10-day-old Belcanto and a ride around the city in one of those adorable 1920s cable cars.

Restaurants

Coldplay + AOC in LA

default-image

© Sarah Lee

What’s better then a sold-out floor seat ticket to Coldplay 2012 tour. If you’re in LA, this: that ticket plus a pre-show meal at AOC, the phenomenal Cal-Med wine (and food) bar from Suzanne Goin (an F&W hero and Best New Chef 1999). Blackboardeats dreamed up the package, which is also rolling out in NYC & Chicago. It answers the prayers of all you who don't want to eat something lame before an epic show.
 
Goin just happens to be a huge Coldplay fan and she’ll be heading to the Hollywood Bowl for the show after the dinner on at least one of the show’s three nights. So if you don’t know the way to the Bowl from AOC, you can ask Goin for directions. You can also ask her if any of the dishes are Coldplay-inspired. (For the Chicago Blackboardeats package, Mercadito is creating a Coldplay inspired tequila cocktail.)
 
If you want to start planning your night ahead, here are more details, including the AOC menu and show dates.
 
The Package: A three-course menu at AOC, a floor seat ticket (and a laminated pass for the memories) is $250, while tickets last. Look out for the email blast coming from Blackboardeats LA on Tuesday, January 17.
 
The Dates: May 1, 2, 4   
 
The Place(s): AOC/Hollywood Bowl
 
The Menu:
Citrus and avocado salad with mint and green olives
 
Grilled market fish with fava beans and savory creme fraiche
OR
Liberty Ranch duck confit with black rice and English peas
 
Bittersweet chocolate tart with mascarpone and pistachios in olive oil

Recipes

Bobby Flay's Phenomenal Chicken Cutlets

default-image

Warning: Test Kitchen Tease snapshots may cause cravings, lip-smacking and an unshakeable desire to cook.

© Justin Chapple

Bobby Flay’s Bar Americain in New York City features a rich special every Thursday: chicken cutlet, American triple cream cheese, Southern ham and arugula. The deconstructed version of classic chicken cordon bleu also stars in Clarkson Potter's fall release Bobby Flay’s Bar Americain Cookbook. Our test (left) came out golden brown and unbelievably juicy. But what elevated the dish were the toppings—lusciously creamy cheese (we used Camembert), salty country ham and a fresh peppery arugula salad. The recipe is in Bobby’s book, but if you don't have it yet, here’s a lovely riff on chicken cordon bleu from our own Test Kitchen Supervisor, Marcia Kiesel: Cheese-Stuffed Chicken Cutlets with Mustard Sauce.

Related: Super Bowl Recipes

Restaurants

F&W Exclusive: LudoBites New Reservation System with Urbanspoon

default-image

© Mathieu Bitton

Looking for proof that 2012 is going to be a great year? Here you go. LudoBites 8, the next iteration of Ludo and Krissy Lefebvre’s wildly popular pop-up Los Angeles restaurant, has a new reservation system. Now maybe, just maybe, you’ll have luck snagging a seat for Ludo's terrific menu. If you think Krissy and Ludo didn’t feel your pain when you couldn’t get a seat at LudoBites 1 through 007, you’re wrong. “We were looking for a creative approach to provide a fair opportunity for all,” says Krissy, who watched six weeks of reservations for LudoBites 007 disappear in less than 60 seconds.
 
To the rescue: Urbanspoon. The primo restaurant discovery site is providing a lottery-style reservation system on their site, allowing people to enter requests for 24 hours, starting at 11 a.m. PST on January 11; the system will then randomly assign reservations. “We’re supportive,” says Kara Nortman, GM of Urbanspoon. “We wanted to come up with a democratic solution to get people into LudoBites 8. LudoBites 007 caused finger fatigue here, everyone clicking non-stop to get in.”

 
There’s one more way to get into LudoBites 8. From January 7 through February 7, anyone who makes a reservation for an LA restaurant through Urbanspoon and then tweets it out, is entered in a lottery to win a free (free!! whoopee!!) dinner for four at LudoBites 8 on February 20.


Ludobites 8 Will Have an Awesome New Reservation System.

Here’s LudoBites 8 information, all in one convenient place.
 
Where: Lemon Moon, 12200 Olympic Blvd. (Ludo is excited to be in the kitchen of his good friends Josiah Citrin and Raphael Lunetta, F&W Best New Chefs 1997.)
 
When the Reservation Process Starts: January 11, at 11 a.m. PST, through January 12, 10.59 a.m. PST.
 
Where the Reservation Process Takes Place: www.urbanspoon.com/ludobites8. (The page goes live when the lottery starts on January 11th.)
 
When You Can Eat At LudoBites 8: Jan 18-20, 23-27, 30-31; Feb 1-3, 6-10, 13-15, 17 and 20-22.

One Last Way to Eat at LudoBites 8: There will be 6 walk-in seats each night at the bar. If the weather is nice (and come on, this is LA, there will be additional walk-in patio seating).


Menu: In process. Will be finalized by January 18.

Restaurants

New Year's Eve in NYC

default-image

© Nathan Rawlinson
Corkbuzz Will Look A Lot Different on New Years Eve.

New Year’s Eve: Three words that bring either absolute joy or pure terror to your heart. If you’re a) on the joy side, b) in New York City and c) thinking that Times Square doesn’t have your name written all over it, consider some of the following options. (They’re not free, but remember: You always have the option of watching the ball drop in person, with a million strangers and no alcohol or bathrooms anywhere nearby.)
 
Corkbuzz. At Laura Maniec’s excellent new wine bar in the East Village, there will be a sea of Champagne—from, among other sources, a 15-liter Nebuchadnezzar (a bottle that is 20 times as big a regular Champagne bottle and defies regular pouring)—plus an open bar and loads of hors d'oeuvres, charcuterie and cheese. $150; 646-873-6071 or corkbuzz.com.
 
Monkey Bar. If you’d rather celebrate in one of the city’s more fabulous dining rooms, the Monkey Bar is offering two five-course NYE menus with swanky dishes like pasta with crushed truffles. At the second seating, from 8-10 p.m., they’ll pour Champagne from nine-liter Salmanzar bottles. (I obviously have a thing for big bottles.) $135/$165; 212-288-1010 or monkeybar.com.
 
Locanda Verde. At Locanda Verde, they say NYE is business as usual. Ha! There are no special seatings, and there is the regular menu. But there’s also this: awesome sounding specials like potato and leek ravioli with crème fraîche and caviar; and for dessert, panettone bread pudding with nougat gelato. Plus 2,000 balloons and a midnight Champagne toast. Look for a similar situation with different specials and I'm not sure how many balloons at The Dutch. 212-925-3797 or locandaverdenyc.com.
 
Parm. Before my big 2012 diet, I plan on eating as much as possible of everything that just happens to be on Parm’s NYE menu: hot antipasti, New Year’s lasagna and that astonishing, high-rising ice cream cake. There are three seatings: 6:30, 8:30 and 10:30; at the final one, there will also also be bubbles and the house Scorpino cocktail all night. $60/$90; 212-993-7189 or parmnyc.com.
 
Má Pêche. The special NYE bo ssäm dinner at Ssäm bar is already sold out; don’t even try for it. But Má Pêche is still taking reservations for its epic Beef 7 Ways and its whole à la carte menu, and of course there’s Champagne at midnight. 212-757-5878 or momofuku.com.
 
Chef's Pass at Bouley. For those who want to be practically in the kitchen with one of the world’s great chefs (and who know that this kind of experience doesn’t come cheap), there’s Chef’s Pass at Bouley. At the 12-person table between the kitchen and the dining room, you can watch David Bouley prepare your meal, and/or take advantage of the kitchen’s Skype set-up to talk to your brother in the Caribbean or the Tours, France cheesemonger who aged the fromages you’re about to eat—you can ask him what he’s doing up so late. $550; 212-964-2525 or davidbouley.com.

Restaurants

Help Save the World with Mario Batali

default-image

© Melanie Dunea

At Food & Wine, we have big plans to save the world—you’ll hear more about that on January 10, 2012, and in our February issue. Without spoiling anything, I’ll say that superstar chef Mario Batali is a huge part of our strategy. But Batali has his own world-saving plans in effect. The Mario Batali Foundation—which he established to make sure kids are well fed, well read and well cared for—has instituted a terrific Molto Dollars matching program. Batali will match every donation up to $100,000 through February 1. And the generosity keeps going: Aperol, the nicely bitter, vibrantly red Italian aperitif, is also matching those donations. With this kind of math, a $20 donation immediately equals $60.
 
So far this year, Batali has used the Foundation’s money to, among other things, create a Books for Kids library on NYC’s Lower East Side and help fund First Star, a summer immersion academy for foster kids at UCLA. Yay Mario!! Now, c’mon: He’s given you so many great recipes. This is a great time to give him a few bucks for the mariobatalifoundation.org.

 

Restaurants

F&W Exclusive Preview: Roy Choi’s Sunny Spot

default-image

© Eric Shin
Sunny Spot's Sweet & Salty Plantain Addictions

What can possibly beat a sweet trip to the Caribbean? Well, this: chef Roy Choi’s version of the Caribbean. The creator of L.A.’s life-changing Kogi Korean BBQ taco trucks (and F&W Best New Chef 2010) is opening Sunny Spot on November 18 in Venice, California. “At Sunny Spot, you’re going to feel like you just washed up on your beach," says Choi. “If I was on my beach in Jamaica, this is what I’d be making.” Five more reasons to get psyched, direct from Choi:
 
1.     Sweet and salty plantain addictions. “As soon as this dish hits the table, I want everyone to grab it and eat it and then it's gone. And then say, 'Get me two more plates, these are freaking delicious.' I'm tossing overripe plantain spears with cane and pulverized palm sugars, then fry them until they’re almost black. Before you eat them, I’m going to toss them again, with sugar, salt and lime.”
2.     Fish bone stew. “The fishmonger is giving us everything that everyone else is throwing away. We use halibut bones, collars, different heads, from salmon to mackerels and snappers, rock cods. Fish bone stew—it's like a white cioppino.”
3.     Sugarcane fried pig’s feet. “I’m cooking with a lot of pig’s feet, also with a lot of jowls. It's not just head to tail, I’m using whole animals. I’ve got whole goats going on here.”
4.     Gold plates and goblets. “It’s not trying to be Pirates of the Caribbean, but everything is gold. And all the cups are goblets.”
5.     Great music going on. “If I was going to a house party right now in Kingston, what would I hear? That’s what we’re listening to at this restaurant.”

Restaurants

Pete Wells’s Top 10 Reasons That New York is the Place to Eat

default-image

Illustration from a Pete Wells column.

© Einat Peled
Illustration from a Pete Wells column.

Congratulations to food writer Pete Wells, who will become Dining Critic for the New York Times effective in January. Wells became the Times Dining Editor in 2006, but before that he was a regular columnist for Food & Wine. Wells covered topics ranging from restaurant previews to “Raising a Baby with a Four-Star Palate,” but if you're trying to get to know his tastes, the most insightful piece might just be one of the oldest.

In 1999, Wells wrote a top 10 list about how New York had become the place to eat. At the time, reasons included a renovated Grand Central Terminal: “Before its eye-opening restoration, Grand Central was a bit like your grandmother: you knew she was a lovely lady, but she didn't exactly leave you weak in the knees,” he wrote. Wells’s first point also illustrates some serious foresight: “Remember when New York had hatcheck girls and double-decker buses? Neither do I. But dust off your grandfather's fedora, because those days are back.” After more than a decade, references to old New York still abound. Find more choice quotes from Wells's F&W articles below, including a comparison of Tom Colicchio to Lucille Ball.

The World’s Best Chocolate (2006): “Amedei sits just outside Pontedera, where they build those stylish Vespa scooters that make even old Italians look young.”

Four-Star Baby Food (2005): “When I tell people my wife and I make all the food we give to our eight-month-old son, they look at me like I've just said we personally tan the leather for our shoes.”

Pork Futures (2004): “Pork kept America well fed when we were still a country of farmers, and suffered as we became a nation of supermarket shoppers. But all signs point toward a major renaissance.”

Restaurant Preview (2000): “Tom Colicchio, a 1991 F&W Best New Chef, has long wanted his own restaurant, but his partner, Danny Meyer, didn't want to let him go. So they struck a compromise: Colicchio will keep cooking at Gramercy Tavern, but he'll also oversee the kitchen at his new place, Craft. It's conveniently located back to back with Gramercy, so that he can run out the kitchen door of one place, across an alley and in through the door of the other. Insiders are betting Colicchio is serious enough about his food to keep this routine from turning into an I Love Lucy episode."

Restaurant News (2000): “There are a lot of pretty, young restaurants out there looking to catch the eye of the fickle diner. So, like a rich man's wife who's hoping not to become a rich man's first wife, establishments of a certain age are splurging on face-lifts and new wardrobes.”

Related: More from Pete Wells's Always Hungry Column
Recipes from Pete Wells

Restaurants

Texas Barbecue Primer

default-image

Texas Monthly BBQ Festival

© Charlie Llewellin
Texas Monthly BBQ Festival

In Texas, quality barbecue is practically its own religion, somewhere between high school football and actual religion. At the annual Texas Monthly BBQ Festival in Austin last month, a veritable pantheon of pit masters—22 in all—gathered to feed meat to more than 3,000 enthusiasts. Thanks to careful pacing and a strict limit on potato salad, we managed to try most of the offerings. Here, we present a guide to five of the state’s best ’cue artists.

 

The Salt Lick, Driftwood, TX
This famous Hill Country spot still cooks meat over a pit, instead of in an industrial smoker. Salt Lick also sears brisket on an open flame before it’s smoked. “I don’t know of anybody else who does it,” says owner Scott Roberts. “Searing caramelizes the flavor, adheres the dry rub better, and holds in more moisture.” As for the signature tangy sauce, Roberts says a legend that the secret flavor was influenced by his mother’s Japanese heritage is “a myth.” “Our sauce came from South Carolina on the wagon train,” he adds. “The only thing that’s happened over time is it’s been Texified.”

Louie Mueller, Taylor, TX
This venerable institution, founded in 1949, took home two awards at the festival—one for beef ribs and one for sausage—but the sausage is the show-stealer: a juicy, jalapeño-infused recipe devised by late BBQ legend Bobby Mueller, whose sonWayne is the current pit master. “It’s a strict ratio of what we call bull meat”—the tough, lean pieces near the shoulder—“and beef tallow,” Wayne says. As for the spices? Nice try. “We’re pretty guarded about that,” Wayne says with a smile.

Stanley’s Famous Pit BBQ, Tyler, TX
In beef-mad Texas, barbecued pork is about as sought after a commodity as secondhand snowshoes. (Governor Rick Perry got into trouble in North Carolina recently when he unfavorably compared pulled pork to roadkill.) But the award-winning pork ribs from Stanley’s BBQ in Tyler—a town in East Texas that’s closer to Memphis than to Midland—makes a case for switching sides. Smoked over pecan wood instead of the more traditional post oak, the ribs get coated in an 11-spice rub that balances Tex-Mex-ish spices like paprika and chili powder with the sweetness of a Deep South blend. It’s a combination that, as owner Nick Pencis puts it, “comes right up and punches you in the face.”

Franklin BBQ, Austin, TX
If it’s true, as purists hold, that you can judge a pit master by his brisket, 33-year-old Aaron Franklin deserves his reputation as the best new barbecue whiz in town. Franklin smokes antibiotic- and hormone-free Meyer Ranch beef for up to 18 hours, resulting in a rich, buttery flavor that draws fans who line up for hours outside the restaurant. “We just cook it as long as it needs to be cooked. It’s done when it’s done,” reasons Aaron's wife and co-owner Stacy Franklin, in the Zen language common to many great barbecuers.

Snow’s BBQ, Lexington, TX
At the opposite end of the big Tex experience is tiny Snow’s, whose pit master, Miss Tootsie Tomanetz, is a septuagenarian middle-school custodian who’s been smoking meat for more than 45 years. According to partner Kerry Bexley, there’s no great secret to Tootsie's impossibly tender brisket: “All you need is a good cut of meat—we get ours from Sam Kane in Corpus Christi—and a little bit of salt and pepper. The real key to great barbecuing is attention and tenderness. If you mess it up, more than likely it’s human error.”

Related: Texas-Style Barbecue Recipes
Barbecued Ribs Recipes
Andrew Zimmern's Favorite Food Festivals

Restaurants

Early Look: DC's Little Serow from Chef Johnny Monis

default-image

© Nigel Parry
Johnny Monis has a new restaurant: Little Serow.

There are some days I really wish I lived in Washington, DC; for instance, while I impatiently wait for Georgetown Cupcakes to open in Manhattan. Or when I hear about a new restaurant from F&W Best New Chef 2007 Johnny Monis, from F&W's superb DC correspondent, Amanda McClements of Metrocurean.com. Here's McClements' first look:

Fans of Johnny Monis's cooking, myself included, have wondered if the intensely focused chef would ever branch out from his kitchen at the tiny Komi near Dupont Circle. About eight years to the day since he opened Komi, Monis quietly unveiled his latest project, Little Serow.

Distance-wise, he didn't go far—the new restaurant occupies the basement of the brick rowhouse right next to Komi—but cooking-wise, the two restaurants are worlds apart.

Komi strongly reflects Monis's Greek heritage, but the casual new spot is devoted to the spicy, sour flavors of northeastern Thailand's Isaan cuisine. His set menu of communal dishes is $45 for walk-ins only. At a recent meal, I had delicious pork skin, still crackling from the fryer, with nam prik num (green chile) sauce, plus spicy cucumber salad with dried shrimp and lemongrass-flavored pork sausage.

Why Isaan cooking? "Isaan food has a flavor profile that I love eating on my days off, and it's what I've been cooking for staff meal and behind the scenes for years," Monis says. He has another connection to the region: He got married to his wife, Anne, on a trip there earlier this year.  (Little Serow: 1511 17th St. NW, Washington, DC)

advertisement
The Dish
Receive delicious recipes and smart wine advice 4x per week in this e-newsletter.
The Wine List Weekly pairing plus best bottles to buy.
F&W Daily One sensational dish served fresh every day.
American Express Publishing ("AEP") may use your email address to send you account updates and offers that may interest you. To learn more about the ways we may use your email address and about your privacy choices, read the AEP Privacy Statement.
How we use your email address
advertisement
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.