- Drinks (84)
- Easy Indulgences (43)
- Gifts (35)
- Media (207)
- Product Reviews (8)
- Recipes (185)
- Restaurant Reviews (114)
In the latest issue of Vanity Fair, the food editor of The Atlantic rants about weighs in on the subject of the rise of the tasting menu and specifically the “tyranny” of tasting-menu-only restaurants. He’s got a nice little history and the piece is a better read than Pete Wells similar grump from last fall. Wells’ gist: “The consumer of such a meal may feel as much like a victim as a guest. The reservation is hard won, the night is exhausting, the food is cold, the interruptions are frequent. The courses blur, the palate flags and the check stings.” That does sound like “a form of torture,” as Corby Kummer mildly puts it.
Bon Appetit has been doing a little feature called the BA Q&A where they talk to stylish people about their eating habits. It reminds me of the New York Eats feature at Grub Street, which pretty much always works–basically a celebrity maps out everything they eat in a week. It’s pretty interesting for us voyeurs. But this month’s interview at BA should have made its home on the cutting room floor, not on the pages of the magazine. Someone called Kelly Wearstler would be totally mortified if she ingested enough calories to feel things.
I read with some interest the top new restaurant lists from Pete Wells in New York City and Tom Sietsema in the D.C. area. I tend to stay local, so I need to try Rasika Westend, Seasonal Pantry, and Izakaya Seki. I don’t think I’m going to risk another meal at Mintwood Place. As a friend used to say, it would be really great…if you’ve never been to a restaurant before. I’ve been warned away from Rogue 24 by a local food writer, so mostly I’ll just keep going to Little Serow as much as humanly possible. It’s going to be a great year! Also, if you missed it, the Times had a great piece by Eugenia Bone about French truffles–where to buy them, why they taste smell so good, and especially whether all those truffle products are the real deal. Read It.
Where last year’s food issue of the New Yorker disappointed, this year’s has plenty to recommend. Naturally, the issue comes with a piece by Calvin Trillin, this time visiting his daughter in Oaxaca and sampling the local fare. One part food, one part family, ten parts Trillin’s witty writing, so it’s well worth a read. I love this sentence: “Given my experience with nutria in Louisiana some years before, in fact, I suppose that, if I hadn’t been raised to prize modesty, I could describe myself as a man with relatively broad experience in rodent consumption.”
The food sections this week range from meh (baked beans cover story) to ick (squirrel gravy with a description of butchering the rodent that will make your stomach turn), so steer clear. Or maybe just read Pete Wells’ review of the vegetarian joint Dirt Candy, and if you missed it last week, his review of the new outpost of M. Wells at MoMa PS1. I would have loved to try their short-lived diner of decadence in Long Island City. Escargot nestled in bone marrow? Foie gras grilled cheese? Truly a moment in time. And don’t forget the rant it inspired in GQ–a must read.
Readers of this blog know that I have mixed feelings about chef Jose Andres. I’ve found most of the restaurants in his D.C. empire to be unremarkable and have had actual bad meals at Jaleo and America Eats. But I get that he’s playful and creative, and my first meal at minibar was truly exciting. But the second one slid back to the ho-hum that I’ve come to associate with his projects.
So here’s a puzzler. Someone else in my household received a teaser copy of Cook’s Illustrated last week. I say “teaser” because it seems to have been created for promotional purposes alone. It’s got no month designation and strangely has a persimmon cover, similar, but different, to that on the November/December cover. Like I said, it’s puzzling. Especially since I do subscribe to the publication. For more insight into the oddity that is CI, read Alex Halberstadt’s profile of its bizarre founder/editor Christopher Kimball in the New York Times Magazine Food and Drink issue. This is the only piece worth a look in an otherwise dull issue and then only if you are already familiar with CI or Kimball. Charming fellow–enjoys making people uncomfortable and his mission seems to be taking the fun out of cooking. His magazine aims to find the definitive technique for any given recipe and tends toward hyperbole–the perfect pizza pie, for example.
When I decided to visit Nashville I knew I wanted to try some of the restaurants I’ve been reading so much about–Music City is Food City the headlines go. So after consulting Bon Appetit and Food & Wine and discovering I needed more than three weeks advance to get into The Catbird Seat, I booked at City House in Germantown. We had a good meal and outstanding cocktails in a bright, buzzy, happening space which I will get to, but these out-of-town forays always leave me thinking foremost about the District’s fare.
Bon Appetit’s October issue covers a topic near and dear to me: home entertaining. I got several great ideas from the editors, but they almost lost me with this weird punch recipe. Well, weird in that it calls for peaches, which have already disappeared from the market. Once I got past that oddness, there’s a great idea here. Andrew Knowlton uses a bundt pan to make a drink-specific ice ring for the punch. In this case fresh peaches and thyme, which is absolutely beautiful, but you could use anything–limes, pineapple, raspberries, or if it’s fall maybe…apples and cinnamon sticks.
I get a lot of emails from food and drink publications and nothing gets my attention like “simple pasta sauces” and “Mario Batali.” Food & Wine dropped both today, so I followed them down the rabbit hole to get a little inspiration. 39 recipes later and I was in a virtual food coma. Why so many in the slideshow, F&W? It would be fine if they all sounded good and original, but I will have to pass on the two with beans and the two with goat cheese. Different strokes, you protest. Fair enough, but do we really need a recipe for peas with ham as well as one for peas with pancetta? Oh, and that Batali recipe? It’s for my favorite–Amatriciana–and it calls for “jarred tomato sauce.” Really?