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Mouthing Off

By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine

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Cocktails

New York Fashion Week with Padma Lakshmi and Mary-Kate & Ashley

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Top Chef host, cookbook author and former model Padma Lakshmi kicked off New York City's fashion week by judging hors d'oeuvres created by six fashion celebs in a cook-off at Bergdorf Goodman's BG Restaurant. The contestants included designers Peter Som (panko-fried oysters with blood-orange gastrique and tartar sauce) and Naeem Khan (chicken with 26 Indian spices, wrapped in lettuce), but the hands-down winning dish, according to Padma (and F&W's omniscient Kate Krader), was Lela Rose's corn crepe topped with lobster and a cilantro–pine nut salsa. Midway through the competition, Anna Wintour, the editor in chief of Vogue, peeked into the room, threw her head back with a rarely captured laugh and exited into the fashion ether.

Later that night, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen served watermelon-and-candied-ginger martinis to a packed room of crazed fans in an effort to promote their clothing lines Elizabeth & James and The Row. A few minutes into the service, Ashley said, "Is there music?" and the staff turned on some beats. Any good bar patron knows that you should always tip the bartender, so I dropped a dollar on the bar (a move that confused Mary-Kate and made it into the next day's paper). After all, leaving a tip never goes out of style–even if it's for a couple of billionaires.

Restaurants

Batali Disciple in Cartagena

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For the last two years, foodies have been talking about the exciting restaurant scene in Colombia’s capital city, Bogotá, particularly its hot food ‘hood, Zona G (which has restaurants from Peruvian star chefs Rafael Osterling and Gastón Acurio). I got to experience it for myself last March. I also spent a week eating around what I believe may be Colombia’s next great food city, Cartagena.

The historic walled city by the sea has finally started to get some excellent restaurants. The most recent addition, Vera, opens next month in Latin fashion designer Silvia Tcherassi’s amazing new seven-room boutique hotel. Vera means truth, as the food will be authentic coastal Italian prepared by chef Daniel Castaño, a Mario Batali protégé who is also the head chef at Bogotá’s popular Emilia Romagna and co-founder of the Brooklyn-based supper club social experiment A Razor, A Shiny Knife. Opening menus will include a classic seafood risotto loaded with clams, mussels and shrimp and pollo al peppe, black-pepper-crusted chicken breast served with confit thighs and a date, watercress and macadamia salad. Castaño's food will be complemented by a 100-plus-label wine list of bottles from Italy, Spain, Chile and California.

Vera

© Tcherassi Hotel + Spa
Vera restaurant in Cartagena's new Tcherassi Hotel + Spa.

 

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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.