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Mouthing Off

By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine

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Chilean Wine Post-Earthquake

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Liz Caskey of the Santiago-based tour company Liz Caskey Culinary & Wine Experiences —who just launched an insidery food and wine e-travel guide, Eat Wine Santiago —sent me an update earlier this week on the effects of the 8.8 magnitude earthquake that devastated parts of Chile on Saturday. Wineries in key regions like Colchagua Valley and Maule are scrambling to rebuild damaged facilities and equipment right before harvest. Miguel Torres estimates that his winery lost thousands of bottles and 100,000 liters of wine from a single cracked vat.

Caskey is doing her part to help by donating a portion of the profits from Eat Wine Santiago toward reconstruction efforts. She's also urging people to buy Chilean. I'm planning to host a Support Chile dinner party and wine tasting with dishes like these and these and wines like these. And I'm swapping out my Sicilian olive oil for this great new Chilean brand.

Restaurants

Olympic Update: High-Low Dining in Whistler, Part 2

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beer

© Amy Rosen
A sampling of craft beers from Whistler Brewhouse.

 

Whistler's best cheap eats.

LOW:

Splitz Grill: Everything from teriyaki British Columbia salmon to the Saltspring Island lamb burger is grilled to order, and there are 20 toppings including baba ghanouj. 4369 Main St.; 604-938-9300; www.splitzgrill.com

Whistler Brewhouse: The perfect Olympic-watching mix of jumbo screens and brewmaster Dave Woodward’s small-batch ales and lagers, like the smooth, copper-colored Red Truck Ale. 4355 Blackcomb Way; 604-905-BREW; www.drinkfreshbeer.com

The Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre: The beautiful new center has a great little café serving a Mountain hoagie layered with bison salami, arctic muskox and wild boar prosciutto. The smoked candied salmon is amazing. 4584 Blackcomb Way; 604-964-0990. www.slcc.ca

Zog's:
Get the poutine at this snack shack—a mountain of fresh-cut fries ladled with Quebec-worthy gravy and cheese curds. There's also a cast-iron pan filled with "help yourself" caramelized onions. 4340 Sundial Cres.; 604-938-6644

The Beet Root Café: A funky lunch spot specializing in healthy dishes including yam quesadillas with chipotle and pumpkin seeds, and pear-and-brie sandwiches with caramelized pecans and spinach. 129-4340 Lorimer Rd.; 604-932-1163

 

Restaurants

Olympic Update: High-Low Dining in Whistler

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Here's where to splurge in Whistler. Check back later today for recession-friendly restaurants.

HIGH:
Fifty Two 80 Bistro: Try the signature seafood platters and perfect steaks seasoned with chef Edison Mays’s “Edison’s Medicine” spice rub. Four Seasons Hotel Whistler, 4591 Blackcomb Way; 604-966-5280. www.fourseasons.com/whistler

Bearfoot Bistro: Chef Melissa Craig prepares extravagant multicourse meals. Short on time? Order oysters at the bar with a glass from owner Andre Saint-Jacques's deep Champagne collection. 4121 Village Green; 604-932-3433. www.bearfootbistro.com

Araxi: Recently featured on Gordon Ramsay's Fox reality series Hell's Kitchen (the show's prize was a job as head chef under Araxi’s chef James Walt), this restaurant serves locally minded, universally delicious dishes—especially the roasted venison with British Columbia chestnuts and red-wine reduction. 4222 Village Sq.; 604-932-4540. www.araxi.com

Restaurants

Olympic Update: Where the Athletes Eat

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Chad Hedrick, Speed Skating, USA: "Rodney's Oyster House has a laid-back atmosphere with excellent oysters and other seafood." 1228 Hamilton St.; 604-609-0080 or rohvan.com.

Alexa Loo, Snowboarding, Canada: The Richmond, BC, native loves Glowbal  
Grill in Yaletown, known for its decadent lobster grilled cheese  
sandwiches. 1079 Mainland St.; 604-629-3424 or glowbalgrill.com.

Evan Lysacek, Figure Skating, USA: The gold medalist had brunch  
at Yew at the Four Seasons Vancouver before his winning skate. 791  
W. Georgia St.; 604- 689-9333 or fourseasons.com/Vancouver
.

Debbie McCormick, Curling, USA: The U.S. curling team member plans on  
visiting the Cellar Jazz Club, which serves snacks like yam  
frites and spicy edamame. 3611 W. Broadway St.; 604-738-1959 or  
cellarjazz.com.

Shaun White, Snowboarding, USA: The gold medalist has been spotted  
celebrating in Vancouver's Granville Entertainment District at the  
two-story Republic club, which has a towering, backlit bar. 958  
Granville St., 604-669-3266; dhmbars.ca.

Hayley Wickenheiser, Hockey, Canada: The three-time Olympic medalist  
was chosen to deliver the athletes' oath at the 2010 opening ceremony.  
Wickenheiser loves Vij's imaginative Indian dishes, like marinated  
lamb popsicles with cream curry, and Miku's aburi-style  
(lightly torched) sushi. Vij's, 1480 W. 11th Ave.; 604-736-6664 or  
vijs.ca. Miku, #2 – 1055 W. Hastings St.; 604-568-3900 or  
mikurestaurant.com.

Travel

The Conrad Maldives’ Underwater Suite

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hotel

© Conrad Hotels
A suite under the sea.

Six years ago, the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island resort could lay claim to the hottest table in the Maldives when it opened Ithaa, a restaurant 16 feet below sea level. If dining inside what is virtually an aquarium isn’t cool enough, the resort is now giving guests the option to sleep with the fishes in its new Ithaa Underwater Suite. The all-glass suite can only be booked for one night at a time, and guests can get everything from room service to a massage upon request.
 

Restaurants

Olympic Update: Vancouver’s Modern Asian Food

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Gyo-O

© Amy Rosen
Gyo-O

The Vancouver suburb of Richmond is home to the Olympic Oval, the speed-skating venue, but it’s also where you’ll find the Golden Village: an intensely concentrated taste of Northern China. Here, some of Richmond’s best modern-Asian restaurants:

Cattle Café: Dishes at this Hong Kong–style café range from the tame (noodle soups with king mushrooms and sliced brisket) to the adventurous (BBQ-eel sandwiches and spicy pig ears). 1020-8580 Alexandra Rd.; 604-276-2800 or cattlecafe.ca.

Well Tea:
This Taiwanese bistro offers lots of fun things to eat, like deftly fried, delicately seasoned chicken nuggets. The fresh-taro-root bubble tea is creamy and tasty. Unit 170-4811, Hazelbridge Way; 604-278-7268 or welltea.ca.

Gyo-O: The specialty here is fresh fish on warm seasoned rice (the tuna with negi sauce is particularly great). For dessert, the house-made macaroons are presented as the Olympic rings in blueberry, chocolate, green tea, maple and strawberry flavors. 2137-3779 Sexsmith Rd.; 604-295-4072 or gyo-o.com.

 

Fisherman’s Terrace Restaurant: The focus here is big-ticket seafood, like local geoduck prepared two ways: sashimi-style, and lightly battered and stir-fried with loads of garlic, jalapeños and green onion. 3580-4151 Hazelbridge Way, 604-303-9739.

Restaurants

Zurich's Dolder Grand Hotel

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dolder
 

After a week of snowboarding in the Alps, I splurged with a side trip to the Dolder Grand Hotel. This storied property set on a hill just outside the center of Zurich closed in 2004 to undergo a massive renovation and reinvention by star British architect Norman Foster. Now a sleek, futuristic new modern wing wraps around the spired, chateau-like 19th-century building. The result should be the blueprint for all projects melding old and new.

My favorite new addition is the 40,000-plus-square-foot spa within the modern wing. Here, the most outrageous highlights:

* The two enormous spa suites with mother-of-pearl walls, fireplaces and even mud baths.
* Sunaburos, Japanese-inspired “pebble loungers”: basically deep, egg-shaped tubs filled with smooth, warm pebbles that release muscle tension.
* The ”snow paradise” chamber, a superchilly room with a snow-covered floor and ice formations.
* An indoor, infinity-edge swimming pool with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the mountains. The outdoor hot tubs (for those brave enough to run out into the cold, or in my case, a mini-blizzard) have the same killer views.
* The spa café, tucked into a white room with oversize flowers painted on the walls, is probably fabulous, but I held out for dinner at the Dolder’s excellent, Michelin-star restaurant. The meal probably canceled out my day of detoxing, but it was well worth it.

Restaurants

Vancouver’s Best Cheap Eats

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© Amy Rosen

With more than 300,000 visitors expected to hit the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, finding a good meal will be its own competitive sport. Here’s a cheat sheet to some local favorites:

 

Gyoza King: Local chefs come to this hole-in-the-wall izakaya for buttery local mushrooms and monkfish livers with ponzu sauce. Star chef (and F&W Contributing Editor) Jean-Georges Vongerichten likes to stop by when he’s in town checking in on Market, his new restaurant at the Shangri-La Hotel. 1508 Robson St.; 604-669-8278.

PAJO's at the Wharf: This decades-old floating seafood shack in Steveston serves deep-fried local cod, salmon and halibut in paper cones, with sides of killer slaw, tartar sauce and fresh-cut fries. If clouds were tender fish, battered and dunked in hot oil, they’d taste like those at Pajo’s. 12351 Third Ave., Steveston; 604-272-1588 or pajos.com.

Thomas Haas Chocolates & Patisserie: The German-born chocolatier worked with Daniel Boulud in New York City and now creates handmade chocolates, spicy hot chocolate and ethereal almond croissants at his two cafés: one in North Vancouver, and a brand new spot in Kitsilano, right beside his old boss’s new restaurants, DB Bistro Moderne and Lumiere. 998 Harbourside Dr., North Vancouver; 604-924-1847; 2539 W. Broadway, Kitsilano; 604-736-1848 or thomashaas.com.

Vera’s Burger Shack: A local institution since its days as a beach concession (circa 1977), today Vera’s has 13 locations serving made-to-order burgers (classic or organic beef, chicken, veggie, lamb or turkey) with its famous secret sauce. Order burgers from the Denman St. location to go for a seawall picnic. 1181 Denman St.; 604-681-5450 or verasburgershack.com.

 

Restaurants

Austria's Restaurant Black Book

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schmitzel

© Jen Murphy
Montjola serves the biggest Wiener schnitzel in St. Anton.

 

St. Anton am Arlberg is one of those places where traditional, family-run restaurants often rival the brand new spots. My friends and I sampled the local haunts and the recently opened. Here, a run down:

Last summer, local hero and two-time world slalom champion Matt Mario bought the legendary
Krazy Kanguruh bar and gave it a major renovation, including the addition of a large terrace; expect a young crowd, with lots of dancing and potent homemade schnapps.

Located at the top of the Galzigbahn, the resort’s futuristic-looking new gondola, Verwall Stube is Europe’s highest-altitude restaurant (at more than 6,500 feet)  and also one of the chicest and priciest in St. Anton; known for its superb fish dishes, including a fantastic bouillabaisse.

What was once The Underground reopened a few seasons ago as Underground on the Piste, next to the Ski Museum (which also has a great restaurant). This tiny chalet has live music, excellent fondue and charcuterie and a superfun staff (one of our servers ran out dancing in a Mexican wrestling mask and the owner even joined in our impromptu dancing in the dining room).

A meal at Seitenblick, which opened in December next to the ferris wheel–like cable car at the base of the mountain, was my favorite of the trip. The restaurant serves updated takes on traditional Austrian fare and the best kaiserschmarrn (a dessert of chopped up pancakes topped with powdered sugar and apples) in town.

The Montjola hotel and restaurant is a steep uphill hike from the main street, but you’ll need the extra exercise if you’re thinking of ordering the Paul Bunyan–size Wiener schnitzel (they claim to serve the town’s largest schnitzel).

One can only eat so much schnitzel and fondue, so I was thrilled to find delicious thin-crust pizza and addictive, cheesy garlic bread at the low-key restaurant Pomodoro, and delicious, inexpensive tapas like bacon-wrapped dates and dangerously good sangria at Bodega Tapas & Vino.

Cocktails

Cocktails to Go in Austria

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drinks

© Jen Murphy
Cocktails at the Drinks Company in St. Anton am Arlberg.

 

Amid the wooden chalets, ski and snowboard shops and fabulous artisanal food stores on the main street of St. Anton am Arlberg is a window showcasing glowing neon liquids in all sizes of bottles. What looks like a futuristic mad scientist's laboratory is actually a shop, called the Drinks Company. With roots in one of the oldest Tyrolean herbal distilleries, it works with herb farmers and specialized mountain farmers who supply the ingredients for excellent herbal elixirs, brandies, schnapps and grappas. Each beverage is stored in a gorgeous, beaker-like glass vessels, and customers can taste samples of Alpine Herbs Root Spirit, Farmer Fruit Brandy and even pre-made caipirinhas. Once you find your favorite, you pick a bottle to fill with your drink of choice and take it to go.

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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.