© Stephen Scoble
Designer Alber Elbaz's wild Art Basel installation.
Food & Wine's creative director, Stephen Scoble, spent the weekend party-hopping in Miami at Art Basel. One of the highlights: The wild food-and-fashion installation Lanvin designer Alber Elbaz created at the Rubell Family Collection.
© Ariel Fernández of Southern-Press
Ambassador of USA in Uruguay, David Nelson, Gabriel Bialystocki, chef Ben Ford, and chef Toshio Tomita.
I’ve always associated Punta Del Este, on the eastern coast of Uruguay, with glamorous beaches rather than excellent food. But Gabriel Bialystocki, founder and director of Punta del Este’s first ever Food & Wine Festival
, is changing that. Bialystocki has collected an impressive lineup of chefs from the US, Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay to participate in the month-long event. Each Saturday, selected chefs will host special dinners for up to 180 people. The dinners will highlight Uruguay’s local ingredients, and each dish will be paired with Uruguayan wines. Bialystocki e-mailed me an update from this past Saturday’s six-course dinner, prepared by Ben Ford of Ford’s Filling Station
in Culver City, CA; Gastón Yelicich of Isla de Flores
in Jose Ignacio, Uruguay; and Toshio Tomita of Nobu in New York City
. Highlights: Ford’s candied fennel, preserved lemon and mascarpone risotto; Tomita’s tuna sashimi in yuzu-soy sauce with jalapeños, with a garlic puree; and Yelicich’s dulce de leche mille-feuilles with chocolate mousse and sabayon cream.
The November 27 finale will be hosted by Argentinean chef Francis Mallmann, who will cook using his trademark seven fires
, and Bialystocki promises to report on all of the delicious details.
© Arsenal Football Club
Arsenal's new WM Club restaurant.
I am a huge sports fanatic, particularly when it comes to soccer—or, as the rest of the world refers to it, football. Usually, I find myself watching a match in a pub in London or a bodega in Barcelona, screaming at a TV screen with the locals. But this year I managed to score tickets to see Arsenal
take on Newcastle United at Emirates Stadium
in London (and, against all odds, lose!). The Brits have taken a few notes from the new haute food offerings at Citi Field and Yankee Stadium and opened three new restaurants and Legends, a cool sports bar with 40 TV screens, at the Club Level. Raymond Blanc protégé Oleg Ibragimov is in charge of the excellent menu at the WM Club restaurant (named for Herbert Chapman’s
revolutionary 3-2-2-3 WM formation that looked like a “W” and “M” on the field). I dined pre-game and had my own personal “table concierge,” who delivered foie gras–and–pear compote with crème brûlée spoons; ham hock terrine with crispy quail’s eggs and homemade piccalilli; and Suffolk pork cheek and belly with red cabbage and crispy pork crackling. Before leaving for the start of the match, I was asked to fill out my halftime menu order. Would I like a cheese plate, wine, perhaps a beer? I checked off my menu card, and my snacks were all waiting at my table at the half. Guests can also come back post-game for Angus beef burgers, drinks and a chance to see Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger and former players mingling with the fans.
© Jen Murphy
Cocktail time at the Barn at Coworth Park.
Every fall, I make an annual trip to London, and I have made a habit of indulging myself with a day or two in the British countryside before heading into the hectic city for work. In the past, I’ve stayed at Brit designer Ilse Crawford’s cozy coaching inns in Hurley and Amersham. This year, I decided to be a bit more posh and checked into Coworth Park.
Located on 240 acres in Ascot, just 45 minutes from London, this new hotel fulfills every fantasy I’ve ever had of a Posh-and-Becks-style country escape, complete with Georgian manor house, stables, deer running in the fields and a lake full of swans. My sporty side loved the tennis, croquet, horseback riding, running paths and polo (it’s the only hotel in the UK that has its own polo fields), and the fab eco-spa, which has an amethyst-lit lap pool that plays music underwater and offers exclusive organic treatments from Dr. Alaitis (some made from lavender grown on the spa’s green roof). And my gluttonous side took total advantage of the awesome food from Michelin-starred chef John Campbell. The Barn, appropriately housed in an old converted barn, has a casual gastropub feel and comfort foods like cottage pie with braised root vegetables and beer-battered fish-and-chips (both pair excellently with Coworth Park’s own beers). Warm homemade bread gets served in cute feed bags. The bar on the second level has horse tacks on the walls, cooking-pot chandeliers and one of the best gin selections I’ve ever seen, plus intuitive bartenders who know exactly how you like your drink. At night, I swapped my muddy Wellies for heels and ate at chef Campbell’s signature fine dining restaurant within the mansion house. A shire menu features ingredients sourced from no more than 70 miles away, while the tasting menu is more brainy and theatrical and might include a liquid nitrogen sorbet of sage and Bramley apple prepared tableside, or a frosted vase of flowers that releases an infusion of garlic smoke over the table. The vegetarian tasting menu was perhaps the most intriguing, mixing flavors like carrot, galangal, ginger and pine nuts in one dish and butternut squash, artichoke and quinoa in another. The restaurant offers the perfect bit of city cooking in the country.
© Photo Courtesy Blue Frog
Guest blogger Monica Bhide, author of Modern Spice,
gave us some of her best picks for where to go late-night in Mumbai.
As Barack Obama heads to one of my favorite cities in the world, I thought I would offer him some guidance on how to relax, Mumbai-style, after a long day of work. From roadside restaurants to salsa clubs, it all begins around midnight in Mumbai.
1. Blue Frog Located in an old warehouse, the club has circular stadium-style rows with seating pods that glow in psychedelic colors during live performances. On offer are cocktails like the Indian Summer, made with vodka, fresh mango, mint and ginger.
2. Zenzi Mills Right across from Blue Frog is this new restaurant inside an old cotton mill. A two-story lounge with exposed-brick walls, it has salsa and a sleek bar that turns out cocktails at lightning speed. Pair their caipiroska (a caipirinha with vodka) with inventive dishes, like paneer satay.
3. Shiro This 10,000-square-foot lounge has Indian-inspired lotus ponds, three larger-than-life Balinese statues hovering over the patrons and red-glass baubles hanging from the ceiling. The best dish is a searing Mahtani chicken with onions and chiles, named for the owner.
4. Lotus Café at the J.W. Marriott This elegant coffee shop with soaring ceilings is a late-night favorite of Bollywood stars. Try Madras steak served in a coconut gravy with onion and chile tempura, plus one of their famous iced teas in flavors like mint, watermelon and green apple.
5. Haji Ali Juice Center Hard-core party-goers end their nights here. Since 1937, the Haji Ali Juice bar has served the city’s best juices. There are no seats, so you park your car by the sea and the waiters come running to take your order for their ruby-red pomegranate juice or their signature “Ganga Jamuna,” a blend of orange juices.
© Jen Murphy
Mil hojas from Amor Amar, Lima.
As soon as I booked my plane ticket to Peru, I reached out to Nicholas Gill
, a super-plugged-in, Lima-based travel and food writer, and asked him where I should eat. At the top of his list was Amor Amar
, a new restaurant from the owner of Pescados Capitales
and former chef of La Gloria
— two of Lima’s greatest culinary minds. Spectacular food. Gorgeous space. His one warning: The restaurant is hard to find. He wasn't kidding. Located in the hip, up-and-coming Barranco neighborhood, Amor Amar is on a nondescript residential street. Random white paper signs stuck to telephone poles lead the way and the only clue that you've reached the restaurant is the valets standing outside what looks like a large garage door. But that door opens into a fabulous courtyard. The entire restaurant is outside (there are heat lamps in case it gets cold) and it feels like a Hollywood backyard party with a long bar and a raised area with couches and music. I jumped between classic dishes like seafood causa (a starchy Peruvian casserole layered rice, potatoes, avocado and prawns) and a slow-roasted suckling goat cooked in a wood-burning oven. My waiter warned me from the moment I sat down to save room for dessert, a decadent mil hojas—a puffed pastry layered with lucuma, a custardy fruit, and chocolate mousse. Rather than sit in a food coma, I explored the restaurant's orchid shop and the art gallery located in an old mansion on the property. The owner showcases local artists, like Marcelo Wong
, whose cherubic figures are scattered throughout the courtyard.
© Jen Murphy
A view leading down to Victor Delfin's studio in Lima.
I recently took a last-minute vacation to Peru and had a few nights to spend in the capital, Lima. A friend clued me in to a great hotel, Second Home
. The name and the super-affordable price tag (about $100 a night, including breakfast) made me wary that I'd be checking into a hostel. But instead, I found myself staying at the home of Peru's famous artist, Victor Delfin (his controversial statue, El Beso, is on display nearby in El Parque del Amor). His daughter, Lillian, runs the five-bedroom B&B in Lima's Bohemian Barranco district. A large door on a dead-end street led me into a courtyard dotted with bronze sculptures of horses and a large bird swing set. The aesthetic was a mesh of Tim Burton and Guillermo del Toro wackiness and it continued inside the house. Delfin's large portraits of nude women hung from the walls and enormous wooden sculptures were around every corner. Two ground-floor rooms served as galleries showcasing his work (all of it for sale). Rooms had garden or ocean views, and breakfast—eggs made to order, homemade croissants and jams and excellent coffee—was served at a large wooden communal table in the kitchen. But the highlight was getting to see Delfin's studio. A walk across the backyard, down past the fabulous swimming pool, led to Delfin's workspace, where, if you're lucky, you can catch him finishing his newest masterpiece.
Once a novelty, the concept of the hotel cooking class–or even in some cases cooking school–has become ubiquitous. It was only a matter of time before a resort tapped into the nose-to-tail obsession and started offering butchering programs. Starting next month the Sanderling Resort & Spa in North Carolina’s Outer Banks will hold monthly butchering workshops taught by German master butcher Frank Meusel and executive chef Joshua Hollinger (his family was in the butchering business for more than 100 years). The one-day workshops, held at nearby Weeping Radish Farm will educate guests on how to break down cuts of a whole animal with a focus on prime cuts. The first class, on November 20, focuses on breaking down a half steer and includes lessons in emulsion cooking and smoking and turning cuts of meat into sausages and hot dogs.
Last week, Laura Catena of Argentina’s famous Bodega Catena Zapata stopped by the Food & Wine office with her new book, Vino Argentino: An Insider’s Guide to the Wines and Wine Country of Argentina. I was seriously contemplating buying a plane ticket to Buenos Aires as I flipped through the dreamy photos of vineyards in the Uco Valley and enormous asado feasts.
I’ve yet to visit Argentina, but Catena’s guide is an essential primer with fascinating stories of the region’s pioneering winemakers and immigrant history, cultural observations on the Argentine lifestyle, and great travel tips on everything from where and what to eat and drink to asking a local friend to book your hotel (some hotels have special rates for Argentines). In the last chapter, Catena even maps out her perfect 14-day luxe wine country itinerary; she includes maps in the back of the book. I won’t be able to squeeze in a trip this year, so instead, I tried to transport myself by cooking a recipe from the book—spicy emapanadas salteñas from Argentina’s Salta province—and pairing them with Catena’s gorgeous Alamos Torrontés, a white made with grapes from Salta’s high-altitude vineyards.