Blog of Award-winning authors
ANDREW DORNENBURG & KAREN PAGE
Named one of GourmetFood.About.com's "Top 10 Food Blogs"
Named one of The Fifty Best Links for Epicureans
Named to MUG 400 for "distinctive contribution to life in New York"
"Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page monitor the pulse of the food world like nobody's business. There's a fantastic database of restaurant reviews, too."
— Babbo pastry chef Gina DePalma
"Page and Dornenburg also write one of the most informative and engaging food/wine blogs on the planet. Check it out."
— Bestselling author Michael Gelb
"If you asked me what I came into this world to do,
I will tell you: I came to live out loud."
— Critic and novelist Emile Zola (1840-1902)
"There is nothing under the sun better for man than to eat, drink, and be merry. Go, therefore, eat your bread with joy and drink your wine with cheer.”
— Ecclesiastes 8:15
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"The Lucky" cocktail at Bar Artisanal features Scotch Whiskey,
Sweet Vermouth, Lapsang Souchong Simple Syrup, and Fresh Lemon Juice; Recommended pairing: Aged Gouda & Montgomery's Cheddar
Sunday, May 3, 2009 — We're happy to have had lots going on to distract us from thinking about tomorrow night's 2009 James Beard Foundation Awards at Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Hall, where our book THE FLAVOR BIBLE is up for a Book Award. (Fingers crossed....) Last night, we checked out Terrance Brennan's new (and already hopping) restaurant Bar Artisanal at 68 West Broadway, one block south of Canal. With chef Bradford Thompson (ex-Lever House, Mary Elaine's, Daniel, etc.) newly in the kitchen and sommelier Jason Ferris (ex-Gilt) overseeing the wine and cocktail list, we're confident that it will only get better and better. Yet we're already in love with that amazing goat cheese-stuffed lamb burger...MMMmmm!
Armagnac & food pairing at Per Se: Marquis de Montesquiou 1865
On Friday, May 1st, we were invited to join a group of journalists at Per Se for a fascinating experiment: a seven-course tasting dinner pairing mostly vintage Armagnacs with each course. While Armagnac is more often served as an after-dinner drink, we were already well-acquainted with its affinity for foie gras and/or prunes, and our eyes were opened by how beautifully it complemented duck and pork in this menu:
May 1, 2009
White Truffle Custard
with Black Truffle Ragout
Marques de Montesquiou 1967
Terrine of Hudson Valley Moulard Duck Foie Gras
"Gelee d'Agrumes," Meiwa Kumquats, Wild Lettuces, Belgian Endive
Marques de Montesquiou, Cuvee Louis 1er
"Aiguillette" of Liberty Farm's Pekin Duck Breast
Buckwheat "Spaetzle," Michigan Sour Cherries, Purple Top Turnips "Parisienne" and Duck Jus
Marques de Montesquiou, Cuvee Comte d'Artagnan
Herb-Roasted Rib-Eye of Marcho Farm's Veal
Glazed Carrots, Oregon Morels, Caramelized Spring Onions with Black Truffle Veal Jus
Marques de Montesquiou 1934
Armagnac Poached Prune "Marmelade," Candied Pistachios, Petite Arugula and Pistachio Butter
Marques de Montesquiou 1904
Valrhona Chocolate Sorbet
with Manjari Pudding, Orange Oil, and Saigon Cinnamon "Financier"
Marques de Montesquiou 1893
Bartlett Pear and Almond Tart
Almond "Pain de Genes," Compressed Pear and
Honey-Ginger Ice Cream
Marques de Montesquiou 1865
Carrie Crespo, Jordan Mackay, Baroness Sheri de Borchgrave,
Aaron Hicklin, Scott Hocker, winemaker Jerome Margnat,
Karen Page & Andrew Dornenburg at La Borie
Sunday, April 26, 2009 — This week's press trip to the south of France was an eye-opening introduction to the pleasures of Syrah, Grenache, Viognier, and even lesser-known grape varietals as expressed through the terroir of the Rhone Valley. Having spent the past seven days with a delightful band of colleagues, we pay tribute to them today by posting this group photo thoughtfully provided by Chateau La Borie winemaker Jerome Margnat (in the unforgettably cool orange pants!).
Chateau La Borie is at www.chateau-la-borie.fr.
The view from our terrace at the Auberge Saint-Antoine of
Quebec City's famed Chateau Frontenac
Lobby and artifact displays at the Auberge Saint-Antoine
A stunning lobby display of unearthed colored bottles
Venison tartare at Panache restaurant in Quebec City
Pan-seared scallop with hollandaise, morels, and asparagus
Venison with pine sprigs and wild berry sauce
One perfect Quebec cheese served with apricot and fennel
Panache's dining room is perfect for breakfast, too
Breakfast bread basket accompanied by fruit confitures
Selection of b'fast meats, cheeses, vegetables at Panache
"Quebec City's Auberge Saint-Antoine:
Top 100 Best Hotels on the Planet."
—Travel & Leisure
Sunday, April 12, 2009 — "It is the hour to rend thy chains, The blossom time of souls," wrote Katharine Lee Bates, who also penned the lyrics to "America the Beautiful."
Last week, we took this Easter idea to heart. Having been feeling more than a little stir-crazy and finding ourselves with a rare commitment-free weekend, we were both perusing the newly-arrived edition of Charlie Suisman's must-read Manhattan User's Guide when we simultaneously called out to each other about a not-to-be-believed last-minute weekend travel deal to Quebec City.
We jumped on it, booking a package that included both round-trip airfare for two and two nights at the Relais & Chateaux property Auberge Saint-Antoine (a hybrid modern boutique hotel and historic museum that's been cited among Canada's very best hotels) at a rate so ridiculously low that we shouldn't even mention it because we find it hard to believe it's likely to ever be repeated — but do keep an eye out, just in case.
This is how we found ourselves, quite unexpectedly, paying a visit to the city we'd last visited on our honeymoon nearly 19 years ago. For two blissful, rain-soaked days, we alternated between strolling the streets of this charming French-speaking city under an umbrella for two and curling up in our room with some wonderful books (including Jay McInerney's Bacchus and Me and The Hedonist in the Cellar, and Leanne Shapton's Important Artifacts and Personal Property from the Collection of Lenore Doolan and Harold Morris).
In between, many of the greatest pleasures of our trip included simply exploring the Auberge Saint-Antoine itself. Four centuries of Quebec City history are on dazzlingly display along seemingly every hallway of every floor. The property is built on one of the city's richest archeological sites, incorporating three 18th and 19th century buildings and many of the artefacts found on their grounds. Exploring the dens off the lobby, we found books and board games (Battleship, Clue and Scrabble among them) on offer for guests' pleasure.
We'd be remiss if we didn't mention the wonderful staff at the Auberge, who managed to charm us at every encounter —
from meals (where an inquiry about what was up the set of stairs in the dining room led to a full-blown tour) to check-out (where we were handed a bag of wonderful freshly-baked cookies for our flight home).
Our thanks to each and every member of the staff who made us feel so welcome.
While we may never find a deal like that again, the Auberge Saint-Antoine is such a special — and "soul-blossoming" — place that we've promised each other we'll return someday, regardless. This is definitely a new addition to our personal Top 5 list of our very favorite hotels in North America.
Wishing you your own soul's blossoming this season. Happy Easter!
Auberge Saint-Antoine and its exquisite Panache restaurant (which is open daily for breakfast and dinner, and for for lunch on weekdays) are at 8 rue Sainte-Antoine in the heart of Quebec City's Old Port. Phone: (418) 692-2211. Web: www.saint-antoine.com. A 25-minute taxi from Quebec City Airport. 83 rooms (starting at $169, Canadian — about $136, U.S.), 12 suites (up to $989, Canadian). Luxurious linens, free Internet, cool gym/spa.
The little bites of food that welcomed us to Sushi Zen (from
the lobster in back to the fugu in the foreground)...
...were as delicious to eat as they were beautiful
Sushi Zen cooks its vegetables separately before serving
each at its ideal texture
How to keep track of which fish is which? An inspiration...
Chef Toshi Suzuki flame torches raw fish before our eyes
Thinly-sliced rare duck with slivers of bell pepper and scallion
Watching Sushi Zen's master sushi chef Toshio Suzuki at
work selecting uni, and placing it on top of sushi rice...
...on one of a succession of gorgeous plates that he collects,
explaining that they are "like a woman's dress...If I served
the same sushi on a plastic box, your opinion would fall."
Andrew pours a thick dressing of yogurt and Japanese
mountain potato (the chef's original recipe) on our salad
Left: A very light, slightly sweet custard fills a cored apple
Right: Vibrantly-colored cactus pear and pineapple sorbets
Sushi Zen's team hard at work with both precision and grace
"I remember when I first came to New York, I'd heard so much about this magical city of opportunity. I felt that my dreams would really come true in New York, because of the sense of bigger possibilities and impending opportunity."
—Toshio Suzuki, sushi chef, Sushi Zen
Friday, April 3, 2009 — Our most memorable Japanese meals served in a private home have been the ones we've enjoyed in recent years at the residence of our friend and fellow culinary author Hiroko Shimbo, who's introduced America to her native cuisine through classics such as The Japanese Kitchen, leading her to be referred to as "The Julia Child of Japanese Cuisine." But one of our two most memorable Japanese sushi bar experiences took place just the other night at the one presided over by chef Toshio Suzuki at Sushi Zen in Manhattan.
In our book CULINARY ARTISTRY, Karen suggests that there are three different types of chefs: After eating food prepared by the first, the highest compliment merited is, "I'm full." The food of the second prompts the judgment, "That was delicious." But the work of a culinary artist is transcendent, inspiring one to muse, "Life is wonderful."
We strolled home after our recent dinner at Sushi Zen in Manhattan musing on the wonders of life.
Sushi Zen is at 108 West 44th Street (between Sixth Avenue and Broadway), Manhattan. (212) 302-0707. Web: www.sushizen-ny.com Tip: Sit at the sushi counter, and put yourself in chef Toshio Suzuki's hands. Then sit back and enjoy!
Sunday, March 29, 2009 — We've resisted...and resisted. But after learning that we already had 10 people following us on our inactive Twitter account even though we had never posted a single tweet, we have started a new one and have finally committed to experimenting with Twitter — so you can follow us at Twitter.com/KarenAndAndrew.
We'll give credit where credit is due — thanks to our 10 initial Twitter followers who inspired us to finally take the plunge: Glutenfreegirl, RCBjornson (Rachel Bjornson), MollyOrangette (Molly Wizenberg), ChefMendez (Mark Mendez), Docsconz (John Sconzo), CNaha (Carrie Nahabedian), LennDevours (Lenn Thompson), PhillyBear (Phil Johnson), JeeWPark (Jee Won Park), and Marliese.
A great review of THE FLAVOR BIBLE from a great new Blog:
"Hallelujah! Celebrating the Good Book: THE FLAVOR BIBLE ($35, Little, Brown), that is. That other Bible is very interesting, but Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg's book (which I wrote about when I was a reporter for the Chicago Tribune's Good Eating section) is much newer and you probably haven't heard quite as much about it. I explain it in more detail in my Trib piece. You should definitely read it to see how the book works, because it will change your life no matter what your level as a cook. And it will give you back your courage as a cook, especially if you have been discouraged in previous culinary endeavors....I like to pick up THE FLAVOR BIBLE (subtitle: The Essential Guide to Culinary Creativity, Based on the Wisdom of America's Most Imaginative Chefs) often, for inspiration; I also like to read it in bed, which is a bit odd since it has no plot. Just look up the ingredient you're obsessed with (for me, right now, it's apples), and take it from there. By the way, the sandwich in the Tribune piece was inspired by Ina (and don't pretend you don't know which 'Ina'), and the salad, which is fabulous, is my own invention. Karen and Andrew are charming and brilliant; with good reason, they are particularly proud of the fact that Grant Achatz, the enigmatic and exquisitely innovative Chicago chef who created the restaurant Alinea (and whom I interviewed in his kitchen a couple of years ago for Men's Vogue), has called the precursor to this book, Page and Dornenburg's CULINARY ARTISTRY, 'My most used cookbook.' Already, this morning, I've used THE FLAVOR BIBLE to decide what to do with my slightly raggedy apple surplus. I opened the book to Apple, of course (Season: autumn Taste: sweet, astringent Function: cooling. . . . Techniques: bake, caramelize, deep-fry, etc); checked out the dishes that a few famous chefs mention as favorites (Caramelized Apple Sundae with Butter Pecan Ice Cream, from Emily Luchetti, of Farallon, in San Francisco, for instance); then decided that I'm going use the apples to make a dense buttery cake, or maybe a sour cream cake, with a bit of chopped candied ginger and chopped apricot. At least, I think I am. I have all the ingredients here (which I'll admit influenced my decision). I may be barking up the wrong tree, but those ingredients are complementary, so I know the flavors will be nice. There is not a single recipe in this book, which is part of its charm — the possibilities seem more endless — so the vehicle is up to me...."
—Emily Nunn, Cook the Wolf (March 20, 2009)
Wednesday, March 25, 2009 — We were thrilled and honored to learn this week that THE FLAVOR BIBLE has been named a Finalist for a 2009 James Beard Book Award. Our sincere thanks to the James Beard Foundation and its Book Awards Committee for this recognition of our eight-year labor of love!
For a complete list of nominees for this year's James Beard Awards, which will be announced at Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Hall in New York City on Monday, May 4th, click here.
We were very happy to have an opportunity to celebrate our long-time friend Laura Day's birthday (as well as her adorable son Samson's birthday) on Sunday. Laura has a wonderful new version of her book The Circle: How the Power of a Single Wish Can Change Your Life available that features a workbook that allows readers to work through the nine steps of The Circle. Highly recommended.
"Here We Go! ... And speaking of inspired, when is the last time you felt that way in the kitchen? Our guide to creative cooking will give you the confidence to play with flavor — and open yourself to a delicious new experience (page 148)."
—Oprah Winfrey, O magazine (April 2009)
Thursday, March 12, 2009 — You might want to pick up a copy of the April 2009 issue of Oprah Winfrey's O magazine for the eight-page feature that starts on page 148. "The Creative Cook" by Celia Barbour was inspired by our latest book THE FLAVOR BIBLE, and is filled with tips for learning to cook more creatively and intuitively. You'll even find a couple of pages of recipes on pp. 184-186 for dishes that were inspired by flavor pairings mentioned in the book.
Cynthia Penney with Andrew Dornenburg
Restaurateur Danny Meyer, Karen Page,
Citicorp's Terri Dial, EMP chef Daniel Humm
Host chef Daniel Boulud flanked by other participating chefs
Chef Daniel Humm of Eleven Madison Park's lobster course
Wednesday, March 11, 2009 — Readers of our Blog know that Citymeals-on-Wheels is the charitable organization nearest and dearest to our hearts. So we were thrilled to be invited as guests to a dinner on Sunday night at the four-star restaurant nearest and dearest to our hearts — Daniel — entitled "Black Truffles, Burgundy, Blue Jeans & Blues" benefiting Citymeals. Raising nearly a half-million dollars to help feed the homebound elderly, the evening's menu featured:
Black Truffles, Burgundy, Blue Jeans & Blues
Selection d'Hors d'Oeuvre d'Hiver
Bacon-Wrapped Bay Scallop with Black Truffle
Tuna with Black Truffle Coulis and Celery Confit
Lettuce-Wrapped Hamachi Tartar with Black Truffle
Beaufort Gougeres with Black Truffle
Spinach, Mozzarella, Black Truffle Barbarjuan
(Champagne Henriot Blanc Souverain Pur Chardonnay NV)
Flocons de Chataignes aux Brisures de Truffe Noir
Flaked Chestnuts with Crushed Black Truffle
by Chef Michel Troisgros, Maison Troisgros, Roanne
(Hanzell, Chardonnay Sonoma 2005)
Homard de Nouvelle Ecosse
Pommes de Terre, Celeri et Truffe Noir
Nova Scotia Lobster
Potato, Leeks, Celery and Black Truffle
by Chef Daniel Humm, Eleven Madison Park, NYC
(Beaune 1er Cru "Beaune du Chateau", Bouchard Pere Et Fils, Burgundy 2006)
Poularde Demi- Deuil
Riz Pilaf a la Truffe Noir
Four Story Hill Farm Poularde "Demi-Deuil"
Crosnes, Rice Pilaf, Black Truffle "Bouchee"
Sunchokes, Salsify, Prawns and Albufera Sauce
by Chef Daniel Boulud, DANIEL, NYC
(Gevrey-Chambertin, Louis Jadot, Burgundy 2006)
Truffe al la Noisette
Glace au Caramel Truffe
Hazelnut-Chocolate Truffle with Chestnut Mousse and Caramel-Black Truffle Ice Cream
by Pastry Chef Domique Ansel, DANIEL, NYC
(Champagne Moet & Chandon Nectar Imperial NV En Magnum)
Our table was having so much fun we hardly noticed that we were among the last to leave the dining room! It's no wonder when the evening offered the pleasure of crossing paths with the likes of Cathie Black & Tom Harvey, Daniel Boulud, Terri Dial & Brian Burry, Gael Greene & Steven Richter, Bob Grimes, Daniel Humm, Suri Kasirer, Danny Meyer, Cynthia & Jeff Penney, Myron & Marcia Stein, Bill Telepan, and Donald Tober.
For more photos of "Black Truffles, Burgundy, Blue Jeans & Blues," visit:
New York Social Diary
While Andrew has been cooking up a storm himself these past several weeks, including baking his own whole wheat breads, we've made it out to take advantage of a few extraordinary restaurant deals around town worth knowing about. Don't miss:
Zak's lamb at the new Fatty Crab on Broadway & 77th St.
* Fatty Crab, 2170 Broadway (near 77th Street). The original downtown location had been on our list of places to try since its opening, but we never made it in. So we were happy to visit the new uptown location on its 3rd night in business, and were instant converts to the pleasures of chef Zak Pelaccio's Asian-influenced (and gently-priced) dishes.
Start with an array of compelling salads at 'inoteca
* 'inoteca, 323 Third Ave. (at 24th Street). We sang its praises in its incarnation as Bar Milano, but its newly-revamped dining room and value-priced menu is even sweeter music to our ears. We dined with Insatiable Critic Gael Greene and intrepid photographer Steven Richter, whose delicoius writing and photos can't be beat, so we'll just link to theirs here.
Black truffle rice balls at Lever House
* Lever House, 390 Park Ave. (on 53rd Street). Run, don't walk, to take advantage of the extraordinary $35 three-course prix fixe dinner offered every night the restaurant is open. We're long-time fans of chef Bradford Thompson's food (from Daniel to Mary Elaine's at The Phoenician), and there are few wine directors as knowledgeable or as charming as Arnaud Devulder (whom we first met at DB Bistro Moderne) . Tell them we sent you!
P.S. Re: Lever House: Our photos didn't turn out nearly as well as we hoped, so instead of doing an injustice to the restaurant with our shots, we're already planning our return visit to shoot more....
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