Winemaker and restaurateur Joel Gott on Napa's new late-night scene.
"Just a few years ago, the only options after 10 p.m. in Napa Valley were cigarettes and beer at the local dives: Pancha's in Yountville, Ana's Cantina in St. Helena or Henry's in downtown Napa. And there's nothing wrong with those spots. But now there's a real late-night scene here, with craft cocktails and great wine. It's particularly true in downtown Napa. The place that really started it all is Morimoto [open until 1 a.m.], which has the biggest late-night scene: It feels more like Los Angeles than Napa. Down the block is The Thomas [open until 1 a.m.], which gets a lot of locals, sort of a wine-dork group. And it has a rooftop that's like a big party. Empire [open until 2 a.m.] launched a few months ago, and it has a serious cocktail program. It gets a good tourist crowd, since it's right next to the new Andaz hotel, which also has a lively bar scene until 1 a.m. Napa's not just about daytime tastings at wineries. We're the adult Disneyland, so we need to cater to everyone."
Related: Napa Travel
Napa's Most Beautiful Wine Tasting Rooms
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
Boston chefs are partnering with the city's cultural institutions. Here's where.
Movies: The Reel Chefs series at Theatre 1 in the Revere Hotel, just outside of Back Bay, invites local chefs to create a prix fixe menu to serve during one of their favorite movies. Jamie Bissonnette of Coppa chose 1980s cult classic The Goonies and made Truffle Shuffle (celeriac-truffle soup) and Chester Copperpot Pie (pheasant, mushroom and gnocchi). theatre1boston.com
Galleries: A hub of the wool trade in the early 1900s, Fort Point is now a hub for the city's art scene. At the center is the FPAC Gallery (fortpointarts.org), a mixed-media space that's home to rotating shows. More recently, chefs have moved into the area. Brothers Louis and Michael DiBiccari opened Tavern Road (tavernroad.com), above, a casual New England–inspired spot, around the corner from FPAC earlier this year. To help decorate the restaurant, the DiBiccaris commissioned artists to reinterpret works of their uncle Adio, a sculptor. Louis also founded the Create competition (create-boston.com), in which six chefs make dishes based on the work of local visual artists.
Museum: Near the Institute of Contemporary Art (open until 9 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays), chef Jody Adams's Trade features Mediterranean-style flatbreads and small plates until midnight. trade-boston.com
Related: Boston Travel Guide
Recipes from Boston Chefs
Instead of turning customers away, chefs are opening bars—to handle the overflow from their flagship restaurants, to try something more casual or to explore different cuisines. Here's where to visit next.
Diners waiting to eat at The Walrus and the Carpenter in Seattle can pass the time with charcuterie and cocktails at Barnacle bar. thebarnaclebar.com
In Portland, OR, Gabrielle and Greg Denton own the restaurant Ox, and now also The Whey Bar, which serves drinks like The Whey We Were. oxpdx.com
Customers can drink whiskey sours and eat wings at Whiskey Soda Lounge NY while waiting for a table at Brooklyn's Pok Pok NY. pokpokpdx.com
Cambridge, MA's Hungry Mother books up far in advance, but diners can try chef Barry Maiden's Southern food at his dive bar, State Park. stateparkcambridge.com
Chef Kelly English shows his love of New Orleans cuisine at The Second Line in Memphis, which he calls Restaurant Iris's "rowdy cousin." His recommended midnight snack: Louisiana Cheese Fries to go with a crisp pilsner. secondlinememphis.com
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During New York Fashion Week (with a view from the Amex SkyBox), we realized that some of our favorite foods are totally ahead of the Spring 2014 trends. Here's how to eat in style.
Pleated Dumplings: Proenza Schouler presented a new take on pleats for Spring 2014. "The silk cloque pleated skirts and dresses were foil printed, so when you open them up, it creates a graphic quality," explained Jack McCollough to the L.A. Times. We've long known the importance of pleating, especially when it comes to adorably crimped homemade dumplings. And when you open these up, there's a beautiful filling of lemongrass-scented ground chicken.
Oversized Biscuits: Volume is a huge trend that's sticking around through spring. The Telegraph even described teeny talent Victoria Beckham's statement dress at "massive." It totally fits with Vogue's declaration that comfort is in right now. Oversized styles also happen to be ideal after one eats giant biscuits, which we plan to do this fall, especially if they’re filled with pastrami or a sausage patty.
Dip-Dye Radishes: The next phase of ombré hair (dark roots and bright tips) could be the return of dip-dying. But these aren't the Kool-Aid-colored strands of yore. Harper's Bazaar described the dyed hair at Peter Som's Spring 2014 show as having a "faded antique effect," with extensions in shades of amethyst and dusty rose. Food obsessives that we are, the naturally-occuring colors seem almost vegetal to us, specifically radish-y. These French Breakfast radishes have tops that are soft red-pink and white bottoms.
Related: A Fashionably Late Dinner Party with Erin Featherson
Zang Toi’s Fashion Party: New Years Eve
The World’s Most Beautiful Restaurant Dishes
Chef Edward Lee on how a bite of kimchi can turn you into a fire-breathing cabbage fiend.
Kimchi is so obviously and distinctly Korean that it distinguishes the cuisine from the rest of Asia. A verb, rather than a noun, you can "kimchi" anything, the same way you can pickle anything. It's sour, spicy, savory, salty and crunchy, with layers of flavor that come from fish sauce, ginger, garlic and chile flakes.
Kimchi is addictive, like a gateway drug to Korean cuisine. Even non-Korean chefs are finding ways to sneak it into their food. I've had it in paella at Toro in Boston, and stir-fried with tofu skin and served with seafood at San Francisco's State Bird Provisions. I think my absolute favorite example of kimchi fusion is the Korean quesadilla at Kogi in Los Angeles—the perfect American repackaging of melted cheese and kimchi.
This isn't authentic Korean food, clearly, but rather chefs riffing on Korean flavors and expanding the discussion. I'm exploring my own kind of mash-up cuisine at my new restaurant, MilkWood, in Louisville, Kentucky, where a fistful of kimchi lands improbably, but deliciously, in a simmering pot of collard greens.
Edward Lee is the chef-owner of 610 Magnolia and MilkWood in Louisville, KY. His debut cookbook, Smoke & Pickles, is out now. Read more from the September travel issue.
Related: Quick Kimchi Cucumbers Recipe
Traditional Napa Cabbage Kimchi Recipe
More Korean Recipes
It'll burn your tongue and turn your mouth into a fermentation zone. Korean cuisine is nothing if not intense, and that's just one reason American chefs are so in love with it. Here, three delicious developments in Korean food.
Korean restaurants make kimchi-seafood pancakes without leavening for a crispy, chewy texture, but Tasty n Alder chef John Gorham in Portland, Oregon, uses a pancake batter with baking soda for much fluffier results. "Kimchi is part of our staff meal two days a week," he says. Gorham's "full-on, white-boy-run" Korean restaurant opens next year. GET THE RECIPE » tastyntasty.com.
Bryan Voltaggio adds a double hit of kimchi—it's in the pasta dough and sauce—to the seafood linguine at his new Washington, DC, restaurant, Range. voltrange.com.
BBQ Pork Sandwich
Soul meets Seoul at Atlanta's Heirloom Market BBQ, where Korean and Texan chefs top a pork sandwich with Korean barbecue sauce, spicy pickles and kimchi slaw. heirloommarketbbq.com.
Read more from F&W's September travel issue.
Related: Cooking with Kimchi
More Korean Recipes
The Korean Pantry
The Indonesian Ayam Cemani is "my most requested bird, ever," says Paul Bradshaw of Florida's Greenfire Farms. Why is the chicken so special? It's partly aesthetic: The Ayam Cemani is black inside and out, from its feathers to its comb to its internal organs. "They're stunningly beautiful, like staring into a black hole," says Bradshaw. The bird is also incredibly rare: Bradshaw, the first US breeder, won't have chicks to sell until early 2014. He's pricing them to meet demand: $5,000 a pair. greenfirefarms.com
Read more from F&W's September issue on travel and America's best chicken.
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F&W Best List
Here, some of F&W's favorite spice shops in the country.
Spice Ace, San Francisco Peppercorns are usually a simple purchase. Not so at Spice Ace, which carries more than 20 varieties, including the rare Micronesian Pohnpei peppercorn, considered the best in the world—and, at $35 per ounce, one of the most expensive. In total, Spice Ace carries more than 300 spices, all packaged in recyclable glass jars and ground in small batches to maintain freshness. spiceace.com.
Spice Galore, Miami Florida’s tropical climate allows the owners of this shop to grow some of the items they sell, like kaffir lime leaves. Another highlight is the salt selection, with 55 varieties, including flavors like Merlot and green tea. Customers can learn how to use whatever they buy in the large demonstration kitchen, where instructors teach classes on topics like spice-based ice creams. spicegalore.com.
Spice Revolution; Westchester, NY Linzi Jean Fastiggi sells nearly 500 herbs and spices at local markets, and her entire inventory is now online. spice-revolution.com.
Related: Lessons from Spice Whiz Lior Lev Sercar
How to Cook with Spices
Lessons from Salt Guru Mark Bitterman
Where some chefs see trash, Mehdi Brunet-Benkritly saw a signature dish: a salmon fish head, marinated in miso, maple syrup and garlic. At the NYC spot Chez Sardine, the dish represents the restaurant’s guiding principle—a Japanese izakaya infused with a trippy, gonzo spirit. “We sell more than a dozen a night,” says Brunet-Benkritly, adding that most diners need some help figuring out where the best bits of meat are. Here, his guide to getting the most out of each head.
For advanced eaters only. The eyeball resembles a soggy blob of fat—with a dark chewy pupil at the center. “It’s not my thing,” he says.
“Not as big as the steak-like cheeks on cod, but still a nice, firm section of meat. Our salmon are all from very cold water, so they are nice and fatty.”
An underrated section, the jowl becomes crispy and chewy, “like fish jerky.”
Collar & Neck
A good area for the squeamish diner—there’s a lot of meat here, and it doesn’t take too much excavating to retrieve it. “You’ll see grilled fish collar at a lot of Japanese restaurants.”
“I like to start here: Just tear away the fin and eat it like an artichoke—you can scrape off the salty-sweet marinade with your teeth.”
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Fish and Seafood Recipes
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