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Mouthing Off

By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine

F&W Best List

Innovative Spice Markets

Spice Ace, in San Francisco.

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


How to Cook and Serve a Fish Head

How to Cook and Serve Fish Head

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.”

Related: Recipes for Whole Fish
Sustainable Seafood Guide
Fish and Seafood Recipes
Ways to Act Like a Chef


3 Ways to Dry Herbs

Dried Oregano with Sea Bass

Here, three things to do with all those summer herbs.

Air-Dry: At Carbone, Mario Carbone and co-chef Rich Torrisi scatter fresh oregano on sheet trays. Placed on top of warm ovens, the herbs dry overnight. “Dried oregano is an important ingredient for Carbone," says Mario. "It’s nostalgic, like the restaurant itself. It’s in everybody’s kitchen cabinet across the country, but by drying fresh oregano ourselves, we’re elevating the experience. You taste the flavor that you recognize, but in a much sharper way.”

Microwave: Pastry chef Aaron Russell at Atlanta’s Restaurant Eugene dries basil, sorrel and mint. “I nuke them in 30-second bursts, then grind them for an intense dust to mix with sugar.”

Salt-Pack: To make herb salts, chef Jeff Mahin of Hollywood’s Stella Barra layers salt, chives and dill on a sheet tray, then dries them overnight in a 120° oven.

Related: Cooking with Herbs
Herb Guide
Best New Chefs 2012 Rich Torrisi and Mario Carbone


Become a Master of Microbes

Become a Master of Microbes

Photo © iStock

Welcome to inoculation nation: Progressive chefs are getting deep into fermentation, the process of controlled rot that adds tart, sour and funky flavors to all kinds of foods. Here, a selection of cutting-edge microbe experiments, ranked from mildly odiferous to nose-hair-singeing stinky.

From Light Funk to Super Funk

At Elements in Princeton, NJ, chef Scott Anderson makes his own rejuvelac— fermented sprouted-grain liquid—to use as a coconut-milk substitute in a Thai-style soup.

Root Vegetable
To amp up the flavor of turnips and carrots, chef de cuisine Carl Shelton dresses them with a spoonful of their own fermented juices at Chicago’s Boka.

Corn On The Cob
Sean Brock of Charleston, SC’s McCrady’s has inoculated everything from Mountain Dew to popcorn. His latest experiment: whole ears of corn, fermented in whey.

Pork Loin
To create a porky version of katsuo-bushi (Japanese dried bonito, essential for dashi), Momofuku’s David Chang smokes, dries and ferments pork loins for three months.

Anchovies & Caviar
San Francisco chef Chris Cosentino of Incanto ages anchovies and caviar for a year to make garum, the famously stinky Roman-era fish sauce.

Related: Dashi: The Ultimate Flavor Boost
How I Learned to Love Mold
How to Make Sauerkraut
Ways to Act Like a Chef

Expert Lessons

An Urban Chef's Guide to Foraging

Aska chef Fredrik Berselius. © Jasmin Sun
Chef Fredrik Berselius of Aska. © Jasmin Sun

Chef Fredrik Berselius outside Aska, located inside Williamsburg's Kinfolk Studios. © Jasmin Sun

As one of the hallmarks of New Nordic cuisine, foraged ingredients are now trending in restaurants across America. But Swedish native Fredrik Berselius, chef at Aska in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, has been eating wild produce since he was a kid growing up in Stockholm. This afternoon, as part of Brooklyn’s Food Book Fair (which runs through the weekend), Berselius will take part in the show-and-tell Food + Foraging panel. “There have been a couple of scares, where I’ve been like, ‘Uh-oh, was that not so good to eat?’ But usually I’m more concerned with running into mountain lions.” »

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Euphoria-Inducing Hot Sauces Use the World’s Hottest Chile

Scorpion Peppers

Scorpion Peppers © Chili Pepper Madness

New York City’s first Hot Sauce Expo, at East River State Park from April 20 to 21, will feature more than 100 lip-tingling sauces from across the country, a chile-packed brownie-eating challenge and a chicken wing cook-off; admission is $10. (With $100 VIP tickets, add an open bar, private restrooms and free bottles of sauce.) But true hot sauce geeks will be there to seek out new products made with the world’s reigning hottest chile, the Moruga Scorpion. Here, a testament to the pepper's heat and three daring hot sauce makers that are now using the Scorpion chile. MORE >

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Return of the '80s: Pac-Man, Power Lunches and Pasta Bar Thursdays

So the ’80s are back. And they’re way back in the world of food and drinks. Here, clues that show the resurgence of the decade in all its neon pink cocktails and Lean Cuisine glory. READ MORE>>

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5 Food Fads That Faded

Food Fads That Faded: Floribbean Cuisine

Photo © Peter Arkle

F&W celebrates its 35th anniversary throughout March. For more fun clips from the archives (like legend Julia Child looking badass), follow us on Instagram #FW35th @foodandwinemag. Here, the trends that came and went.

“Floribbean” Cuisine
In the late ’80s, F&W proclaimed that Floribbean food and cocktails were here to stay.

Southwestern Food
“The Southwest is hot!” F&W exclaimed in 1987. This is still true; just not the food.

Creole & Cajun
Jambalaya and gumbo are classics, but they’re not “state of the art eating,” as F&W reported in 1989.

Sun-Dried Tomatoes
Along with Camembert and pasta salad, a talisman of the high life from the Reagan era.

Baby Veggies
Itty-bitty vegetables seem to reappear on menus (and in F&W) every five years or so. The last time was 2008.

Download the Full Story: 35 Years of Food Trends »


The Incredible Shrinking Plate: Small Plate Boom & Bust


Photo © Akiko Ida & Pierre Javelle

F&W has been spotting food trends for 35 years now. Here, a time line of our greatest hits—and misses during the small plate boom and bust.

In a land of buffets and big portions, a new trend arrives. F&W writes: “The latest word in eating is less. There are many names for the phenomenon—grazing, noshing, snacking—but we’re giving it another: Littlemeals.”

F&W traces the small-plates trend back to its roots, with a story called “What’s All This We Hear About Tapas?”

Ferran Adrià’s El Bulli earns its third Michelin star. Meals at the modernist Spanish restaurant involve three dozen small bites and snacks.

Japanese snacking pubs, aka izakayas, take off in the US. “American gastro izakayas offer Japanese small plates with multiculti twists,” reports F&W.

In a newspaper article titled, “Is the Entrée Heading for Extinction?” chef Tom Colicchio says, “I think the entrée has been in trouble for a long time.”

The trend goes middlebrow, as The Cheesecake Factory debuts a “Small Plates and Snacks” menu with Vietnamese tacos.

The New York Times publishes “The Problem With Small Plates.”

Download the Full Story: 35 Years of Food Trends »

Restaurant Industry Intel

Chefs, Bartenders and Baristas Reveal Their Every Day Carries

Tim Love's Every Day Carry.

Every Day Carry courtesy of Tim Love.

I’ve often thought about which items I should have on me at all times—essentials like keys and a wallet, of course, but also gizmos like mini flashlights and bottle openers that are needed only occasionally (but oh-so helpful when they are). Turns out there’s a whole community of folks online who have turned this question into a full-time obsession. They’ve dubbed it Every Day Carry (EDC), and on blogs, Tumblrs, forums and elsewhere, users share photos and descriptions of their personal sets of super-practical—sometimes tactical—gear, with the goal of always being ready for just about any situation. In that spirit, we asked chefs, bartenders and baristas for their professional EDCs—the portable tools they need to perform just about any job-related task. Scroll through the following slideshow to see what gear these pros couldn’t imagine living without: Professional Every Day Carry.

Related: Best Kitchen Knives
Ultimate Super Bowl Party Recipes
Chefs' Best Clean-Up Tips

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