James Beard Award, Georges Duboeuf Award and
Gourmand World Cookbook Award-winning authors
ANDREW DORNENBURG & KAREN PAGE's Web Log
Named one of GourmetFood.About.com's "Top 10 Food Blogs" in 2006
"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.”
Our trio of amuses-bouches at Picholine
"Bacon and Eggs" of polenta, tuna bacon and truffle toasts
Sea urchin panna cotta w/ chilled ocean consomme &
Our middle course was an incredibly tender yet crisp skate
Hand-harvested sea scallops with blood orange grenobloise
Picholine maitre fromager Max McCalman talks cheese w/ us
Our cheese plates, selected by Max McCalman himself
One of Picholine's line-up of petits fours
Thursday, December 21, 2006 — Between work and pleasure [i.e. birthdays (Andrew's on Monday, and our friends') and seeing out-of-town guests], we've been too busy to blog. But the delicious dishes of our week (which also include a dinner we were surprised with at Bar Masa) deserve sharing.
Last night we visited Picholine with friends for our first dinner there in years, not to mention our first since the restaurant's Fall 2006 redesign. We were honored that both chef-owner Terrance Brennan and maitre fromager Max McCalman were on hand to look after us. Few chefs have Terrance's way with seafood, and every dish spotlighting creatures of the sea was a delight. Max's mastery of cheese may be unequaled.
Picholine is at 35 West 64th Street (bet. Broadway and Central Park West), New York City. (212) 724-8585. Web: www.artisanalcheese.com.
Fried baby calamari and popcorn shrimp at Bar Masa
Our hosts ordered sashimi and we were served sushi -- which
was still delicious
The shaburi pot on our table at Bar Masa...
...where we cooked our own raw fish and shaved fennel
Soba-flavored ice cream topped w/ toasted buckwheat
Andrew was served a cake of crepes layered with green tea
cream -- and a lighted Champagne bottle candle!
Bar Masa is at the Time Warner Center at 10 Columbus Circle, 4th Floor (60th Street at Broadway), New York City. (212) 823-9800. Web: www.masanyc.com We can't imagine dining here when Keisha wasn't looking out for the dining room, as she was on Monday night.
David Parker's "About 15 Minutes" on December 16th
Juilliard Class of 2010 takes a bow post-"About 15 Minutes"
"'About 15 Minutes' was created out of lengths of theatrical time which were divided alternately into seconds, minutes, beats, measures, notes, noises and tasks. Theatrical time being what it is — a most mysterious entity — the duration of the piece varies at each performance."
—David Parker, choreographer
Compass' Terrine of Chicken "Caesar Salad"
Butternut Squash Veloute with Apples and Parsnips
Roasted Atlantic Salmon with Cranberry Bean Ragout
Pistachio-Crusted Breast of Crescent Hills Farm Duck
Pecan Bread Custard w/Maple Butter and Bourbon Ice Cream
Compass petits fours included mini-banana muffins, mint
chocolate cups, and white chocolate-covered pork rinds
Sunday, December 17, 2006 — We were grateful to have had the opportunity to view New Dances at Juilliard, Edition 2006, last night at Juilliard's Peter Jay Sharp Theater. The program showcased four classes of Juilliard dancers, choreographed by David Parker, Matthew Neenan, Doug Varone, and Aszure Barton.
We especially enjoyed choreographer David Parker's colorful and exuberant "About 15 MInutes," which spotlighted the talents of Juilliard's Dance Division's freshman class.
Afterward, we rediscovered Compass and its bargain three-course dinner for just $35, which last night featured a choice of butternut squash soup or Caesar salad with chicken, salmon or duck; and dessert. Chef John Fraser's salmon (which we ordered, and was served, on the rare side) was a stand-out, as was pastry chef Vera Tong's pecan bread custard (for which we ventured off the prix-fixe dessert menu), which we joked we wanted to return for this morning for breakfast. Instead, we enjoyed a take-home pastry, a thoughtful gift for departing diners that provided a very nice touch to the end of a very nice late-night supper.
The Bang Group, headed by choreographer David Parker, is at www.thebanggroup.com.
Compass restaurant is at 208 West 70th St. (near Broadway), New York. (212) 875-8600. Web: www.compassrestaurant.com
From our emailbox, one more example of why we love hearing from you: We think we learn as much from you as you learn from us!
"Hi Mr. Dornenburg and Ms. Page,
I am a current student at [a top U.S. cooking school] and was just scrolling through some food
blogs. I read the entry about Fuleen's. Which is quite funny and
surprising, I feel. Funny because I frequent that restaurant a lot
when I am in the city. My family goes there for every family
gatherings and random lunch specials during the day. Very inexpensive
and a good portion and quality for the price during lunch.
Seeing the food on the table that filled your stomachs that night puts
a smile on my face. I'm glad you guys got to enjoy some traditional
Chinese dishes rather than the typical American ordered General Tso's
chicken or the like. Of course Peking Duck is catering to the American
taste buds, my mom would kill me if I ever ordered that when she was
around. Although, I do love that dish. I believe the fish in that tank
that night is called the 'rock fish' in Cantonese. I tried googling it
to confirm my translation. I'm not quite sure, but here are some pics
if you do want to see and make sure yourself. http://www.dsn.jp/~super7/result2004/040619.jpg looks pretty similar
right? I think the site calls it rock trout.
I too am sad about the passing of Mr. Boyle's life. I'm glad that he
did live a good life with family, friends and good food! Of course a
successful career that he was great at also. Being able to read your
encounters and meetings with him helps me to see him as a real human
being outside from 'Frank.'
Thank you for your experience and good work."
Thank you, Angela — and happy holidays!
Karen Page, Judy Chang, Marilynn Scott Murphy, Jerri Banks
and Andrew Dornenburg toasting at Pour
Copies of WHAT TO DRINK WITH WHAT YOU EAT
Andrew chats with chef Scott Barton, who mentioned how
much he appreciated CULINARY ARTISTRY
Andrew and Karen flanking Jennifer Iannolo and Mark
from The Gilded Fork
Saturday, December 16, 2006 — The new Upper West Side wine store Pour hosted us for a festive book signing and wine tasting on Thursday night, as new friends and old dropped by to congratulate us on WHAT TO DRINK WITH WHAT YOU EAT being named the 2006 Gourmand World Cookbook Award winner as "Best Book on Matching Food and Wine" - U.S.
We were delighted to get to toast the good news with the likes of legendary restaurant critic and Insatiable author Gael Greene and photographer Steven Richter, theatrical agent Marilynn Scott Murphy, publishing exec Sally Wood, and even the man behind our daily must-read e-newsletter Manhattan User's Guide's Charlie Suisman.
Jennifer Iannolo and Mark Tafoya dropped by from The Gilded Fork to interview us for a podcast (to be broadcast next week at www.thegildedfork.com), and smartly seized the opportunity to interview Gael Greene as well, who talked about the important work of Citymeals-on-Wheels (which she co-founded), especially this time of year.
Our sincere thanks to everyone at M. Young Communications, and particularly Dawn Padmore, for pulling off such a wonderful event, and especially to the folks at Pour: passionate beverage expert Jerri Banks (for whose cocktails we look forward to returning!) and co-owners H. Tres Meyer and Christine Beattie.
Looking for a signed copy of WHAT TO DRINK WITH WHAT YOU EAT to give as a holiday gift? Upper West Siders can pick one up at Pour!
Pour is at 321 Amsterdam Ave. (at 75th Street), New York City. (212) 501-POUR. Web: www.pourwines.com
"On behalf of Tres Meyer and everyone at Pour, I want to thank you for your tremendous presence, passion and gracious reception with which you conducted the book signing Thursday evening....The book is, as the Brits say, delicious, so congratulations on yet another marvelous addition to the world of culinary literature. We are all so pleased to have it be our first selection to the Pour library.
Cheers and Happy Holidays,"
—Jerri Banks, Beverage Director, Pour (NYC)
Garrett Popcorn Shop at 242 W. 34th Street in Manhattan
Our American Coney Island kit contained fixins for...
...a dozen chili-and-onion-topped hot dogs, plus a paper hat
Finishing an American Coney Island hot dog with onions
When regional "delicacies" make their way from the Midwest to New York City, is something lost in the translation? Sometimes.
We couldn't believe our eyes when we opened The New York Times on Wednesday to read Florence Fabricant's report that Chicago-based Garrett's Popcorn had opened a Manhattan outpost on West 34th Street near Penn Station. We have been long-time fans (in Karen's case, lifelong) of Garrett's truly extraordinary caramel crisp and cheese corn, and have waited in lines for the better part of an hour for a taste. We'd easily place Garrett's Popcorn on our list of the 100 most extraordinary things we've ever tasted.
So of course we rushed to check out Garrett's Penn Plaza location. While we sincerely wish them the best of luck in winning New Yorkers over as fans, our first visit unfortunately didn't inspire much optimism that they will. Employees were handing out plastic cups full of their caramel and cheese corn mix, so our first taste was as the result of a free sample. The popcorn was obviously popped a number of hours earlier, and was served at room temperature — when in Chicago it's typically served minutes after being popped and still warm. We wondered whether the popcorn was popped in Chicago and simply FedExed to New York City, but they insisted that Chicago locals were on hand to pop it "in back." The cheese corn, which Karen's been eating and loving for more than three decades, didn't taste nearly as cheesy or as salty as it does in Chicago. We ordered two samples of the popcorn — one mix from the heating tables on display in front (which still wasn't very warm), and one mix fresh from the popcorn poppers in back. We unfortunately can't rave about either batch.
Dear Garrett's: We believe that New Yorkers are open to your pleasures, but you have to get it right, right out of the starting gate. You only get one chance to make a good first impression. Only serve fresh, hot popcorn. Get someone in to adjust the cheese corn recipe, and serve it as cheese-y and well-salted as you do in Chicago. If you do it right, like you do in Chicago, New Yorkers will flock to you!
Growing up in Detroit, a downtown treat was an improbably named Coney Island hot dog. Karen has no idea whether it was inspired by a New York Coney Island original back when it was founded in 1917, or is simply a Detroit thing. But she's eaten so many over the years that the taste is fixed in her memory, and Andrew still recalled it from our last visits to Detroit.
When we were sent an American Coney Island kit containing the fixings for a dozen Detroit-style Coney dogs, we weren't optimistic. But after tasting the hot dogs we assembled from the kit — which includes a dozen Dearborn Brand hot dogs, buns, the unmistakable Detroit chili (a wacky concoction that melds beef, textured vegetable protein, and cracker meal), and even a sweet onion (as 80 percent of Coney lovers like their raw onion on top!) — we were won over. Anyone who recalls with any fondness whatsoever the taste of a Detroit Coney Island hot dog will love this kit. It makes a great gift, but you'll have to act quickly: the shipping season is short!
A few extra tips: To make them Detroit-style, you'll want to grill the dogs and steam the buns. And you'll definitely want to dilute the chili concentrate with some water when heating. We also recommend adding a touch of your favorite mustard (not included in the kit...yet).
Our thanks to Grace Keros — granddaughter of Gust Keros who in 1917 opened American Coney Island in Detroit, and daughter of Charles Keros, who later took over the reins from his father — who is the first woman to head the company, for sending us this American Coney Island kit this holiday season.
American Coney Island is a Detroit institution. You can order your own American Coney Island kit for yourself or as a gift at www.americanconeyisland.com.
Garrett Popcorn Shop is a Chicago institution. We strongly recommend sampling the caramel crisp and cheese mix at one of its several Chicago locations. We're crossing our fingers that the popcorn in its Manhattan location at 242 West 34th Street (near Seventh Avenue) will soon be recommendable as well. Web: www.garrettpopcorn.com
Thursday, December 14, 2006 — We are saddened by the passing this week of 71-year-old Peter Boyle, who was not only one of the great character actors of our day, but a lover of good food and wine who was gracious enough to offer up a quote with his journalist wife Loraine (who studied cooking in Italy with Marcella Hazan) for the back cover of our book WHAT TO DRINK WITH WHAT YOU EAT.
We first met a few years ago while waiting in line for Pearl Oyster Bar on Cornelia Street to open for the night, and our mutual love of food and wine kept us bumping into each other from time to time. Our favorite Peter Boyle story is replayed here today in his honor:
"Bubbly Boyle's grape sense of humor: Peter Boyle, who plays Ray Romano's dad on 'Everybody Loves Raymond,' is just as funny in real life. At the L.A. launch for Dom Perignon's '96 vintage, Boyle, with his real wife Loraine and his TV wife Doris Roberts, was chatting with husband-and-wife cookbook team Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page — he's a chef, she's a journalist — who were on the coast promoting their new books THE NEW AMERICAN CHEF and BECOMING A CHEF. Boyle deadpanned, 'I wonder if they take their shoes off before they stomp the grapes to make the Champagne?' Page laughed and offered Boyle $5 if he'd ask the same question of Richard Geoffroy, Dom Perignon's French 'chef de cave' who'd flown in from Epernay for the party. Boyle took the bet — prompting Geoffroy to launch into a rather serious explanation of the production of fine Champagne (which does not include grape-stomping, shoeless or otherwise). When the lights were lowered later for the show, and not having a $5 bill, Page slipped Boyle $10. A couple of days later, the two couples bumped into each other at Campanile restaurant and joined up for lunch. Over dessert, Boyle reached out as if to shake Page's hand — instead placing in it a $5 bill. Dornenburg laughed, 'What a guy to extend a joke 48 hours by remembering to make change'."
— Richard Johnson, The New York Post's "Page Six" (March 27, 2004)
On Monday morning of this week, Karen had been interviewed by Lisa Birnbach on her radio show, and when Lisa mentioned that she was a close friend of Loraine's, Karen had shared the story of how we'd met Loraine and Peter.
Our hearts go out to Peter's wife Loraine, and their two daughters. We'll never forget Peter's great performances — nor his "grape" sense of humor.
WHAT TO DRINK WITH WHAT YOU EAT at Best Cellars
Fuleen Seafood Restaurant features fresh fish in its window
...some of which we hadn't seen the likes of before!
We shared a big pot of spicy clams with green pepper soup
Crispy jelly fish (Andrew's first!) and smoked pork at Fuleen
Crispy duck skin was served with sliced buns and scallions
Digging into the duck "sandwiches" and amazing chives
Fried rice with vegetables; crispy whole fish with scallions
Everyone brought a bottle of wine or two to taste and share
Joshua Wesson looks out for the pleasure of all
Last night was a celebration of "all things Joshua Wesson." After spending 90 minutes signing countless copies of WHAT TO DRINK WITH WHAT YOU EAT at Best Cellars' Upper East Side location, we headed down to the Lower East Side for dinner at Fuleen Seafood Restaurant in Chinatown. Everyone brought a bottle of wine or two to share, and this group of wine lovers got to sit back while Jean-Louis ordered a delicious family-style feast for all of us. There were so many dishes we actually lost count of how many we tasted, but no one left hungry and yet the entire bill set each of us back just $25.
Fuleen's take-out menu boasts its inclusion in both the Michelin Guide and the Zagat Survey, and its distinction as both a Critics' Pick by Time Out: New York and a nominee for "Best Chinese" on CitySearch.com. We could certainly taste why.
Best Cellars is at 1291 Lexington Avenue (at 87th Street), New York City. Web: www.bestcellars.com
Fuleen Seafood Restaurant is at 11 Division Street (bet. Bowery and East Broadway), New York City. (212) 941-6888.
"The objectives of the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards are to reward and honour those who 'cook with words'; to help readers find the best out of the 24,000 food and wine books produced every year; to create an opportunity to access the major markets in English, German, Spanish or French for books originated in other languages; and to increase knowledge of, and respect for, food and wine culture, which promotes peace."
—Gourmand World Cookbook Awards
Wednesday, December 13, 2006 — Our email this morning from editor Karen Murgolo was how we first learned the news. "This is wonderful! And well-deserved," she wrote. "Please keep me informed. I think you're on a roll!"
But on a roll with what?, we wondered.
Then we looked again at the subject line: "
RE: GOURMAND AWARDS 2006." Our eyes widened. We scrolled down to read the forwarded original email, which indeed featured our email addresses...but which we still haven't received directly:
"GOURMAND WORLD COOKBOOK AWARDS 2006
YOU ARE THE WINNER
Among the books competing in the 'Gourmand English-USA Awards ' with WHAT TO DRINK WITH WHAT YOU EAT: The Definitive Guide to Pairing Food with Wine, Beer, Spirits, Coffee, Tea, Even Water, Based on Expert Advice from America's Best Sommeliers. Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page. (Bulfinch)
In the category: Best Book on Matching Food and Wine
You can win again in the next step: The winners in each language will compete against winners in the same category in other languages for The Best in the World. The results will be announced in Beijing, China, at the Gala Dinner of April 7, 2007.
The email was signed by Edouard Cointreau, President of the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards (Spain), and Bo Masser, Secretary of the Jury (Sweden).
Our book DINING OUT won a 1998 Gourmand Award as one of the world's best books on gastronomy, and it is the single most gorgeous certificate we've ever received, embossed on thick, richly-textured paper with fine, hand-lettered calligraphy.
We're humbled to begin our day with the news that WHAT TO DRINK WITH WHAT YOU EAT has won its own 2006 Gourmand Award as the Best Book on Matching Food and Wine.
Our sincere thanks to Edouard Cointreau, Bo Masser, and the rest of the Jury of the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards (who in 2005 included the USA's Dun Gifford of Oldways, France's Mayor of Sorges
Jean Jacques Ratier, and Germany's
Prince Franz-Wilhelm of Prussia) for this greatly-appreciated honor.
Steve Cuozzo of The New York Post gives a friendly nod to Gael Greene in his "Free Range" column today on Metro Marche:
"...But tonight also finds the earthiest new pate in town, a country mosaic of pork, chicken, apricot, green peppercorn and pistachios. There's Gael Greene because, 'I love the lobster salad and I came back for more.'"
It's very rare for one critic to acknowledge another from a competing publication in a review. What's the restaurant meriting such a (welcome!) break in precedent? Metro Marche, which has been winning raves for its French cuisine, is at the Port Authority Bus Terminal. Really.
Chopin Vodka hosts Women Chefs & Restaurateurs last night
Stuffed olives awaiting placement in their CEO Martinis
Anne Rosenzweig, Karen Page, Katy Keck; Cider Mill Martini
Spirited mixologist Tina Paola demos the Chopin cocktails
The Women Chefs and Restaurateurs crowd enjoys the show
WCR guests included three from Cafe Frida (at right)
Chopin Holiday Punch served with yellowtail sushi with
Smoky Martini paired with double cured smoked Scottish
salmon roulade with Japanese cucumber, creme fraiche,
dill and salmon caviar on warm potato cake
Gothamist's Laren Spirer, Karen Page, Andrew Dornenburg
Tuesday, December 12, 2006 — Last night, Chopin Vodka hosted a sold-out crowd of 30 members of the Women Chefs and Restaurateurs organization and their guests at the chic Chelsea offices of Moet Hennessy for a food and cocktail pairing event inspired by our book WHAT TO DRINK WITH WHAT YOU EAT.
We enjoyed seeing a roomful of distinguished palates, which included chef-restaurateur Anne Rosenzweig (Inside) and Katy Keck (New World Grill), discover some delightful and surprising new flavor combinations (and classic combinations paired in new ways) represented by the cocktails demonstrated so passionately by mixologist Tina Paola.
One of the night's biggest hits was the Chopin Cider Mill Martini — a celebration of fall in a glass, with its flavors of apple, cinnamon, nutmeg and a pumpkin seed rim — which was paired with a roasted butternut squash shooter with spiced pistachios.
Another was the Chopin Holiday Punch, a spin on the Chopin Player's Cup, which proved remarkably light and refreshing with its notes of cucumbers and mint. It was almost an exact color twin to the yellowtail sushi with which it was paired! Better yet, it's especially practical for holiday entertaining, as it can be made up to 24 hours in advance. To make a pitcherful:
17 oz. Chopin Vodka
11 oz. Grand Marnier
8 1/2 oz. fresh lime juice
3 sprigs fresh mint
1 cucumber, sliced
1/2 apple, sliced
1/2 pear, sliced
5 oz. cranberry juice
5 oz. club soda
Combine all ingredients except club soda in a large pitcher. Cover with plastic wrap, and chill up to 24 hours in advance. To serve, fill a Collins glass 3/4 full with ice. Add Chopin Holiday Punch, and top with a splash of club soda.
We enjoyed signing books for guests afterward, and especially thank HG Marketing's Helen Gregory and the WCR's Magdalena Spirydowicz for their efforts to pull off such an entertaining and informative event for some of the WCR's most dynamic members.
Chopin Vodka is represented in the United States exclusively by Moet Hennessy. www.chopinvodka.com.
Women Chefs and Restaurateurs is at www.womenchefs.org.
Baton Rouge's "Leopard Ladies" — and/or "Cheetah Chicks"
"...The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes 'Awww!'"
—Jack Kerouac, On the Road (1957)
We love this city. Tonight, walking home along Third Avenue near 49th Street, we happened upon this quintet seated and standing near a sidewalk bench. "You look so beautiful," Karen gushed. "May I take your picture?"
"Of course!" was their enthusiastic reply. It turns out these women of a certain age, dressed alike in leopard-print (or was it cheetah-patterned?) coats and pink fuzzy scarves, are from Baton Rouge, and continuing their holiday tradition of the past few years to leave their families behind and enjoy some "girl time" in Manhattan together.
"We can't decide whether to call ourselves the 'Leopard Ladies' or the 'Cheetah Chicks,'" they admitted.
By any name, we'd still call them fabulous.
The Leopard Ladies / Cheetah Chicks would very much like to encourage New Yorkers to pay a visit to Louisiana, which they said could really use the tourism. We told them we were doing our part, having paid two visits to New Orleans in 2006 with another already scheduled for July 2007. Hope you'll join us at Tales of the Cocktail then — and/or plan your own delicious trip to their fair state!
Setting the Table by restaurateur extraordinaire Danny
is a must-read book of 2006—and a great gift idea!
Trio of amuses bouches at Gramercy Tavern featuring
turnips, beets and radishes, and farro with carrots
Fluke Tartare with Celery, Pickled Ginger, and Pine Nuts
Lobster Salad with Red Radish, Pickled Ginger and Pistachio
Black Bass with Cauliflower, Caviar and Caramelized Endive
Roasted Sturgeon with Salsify, Cipollini Onions, Fingerling
Potatoes, and Lemon-Fennel Sauce
Lightly Smoked Spanish Mackerel with Leeks, Scallions, and
Roasted Venison Loin with Red Onion Marmalade and
with Sauteed Cabbage and Apples
Cranberry Hazelnut Bread Pudding with Mandarin Orange
Goat's Milk Cheesecake with Concord Grape Sorbet and
Saturday, December 9, 2006 — We got engaged in New York City 18 years ago this month, so we hope you won't fault our starry-eyed belief that December is a month when magical things can happen.
In last night's bitter cold when there wasn't an empty cab in sight, the Third Avenue bus magically showed up in a matter of moments after our arrival at the bus stop. ("I've been waiting more than 20 minutes!" the shivering woman in front of us undertandably sulked.) Then, at the festive holiday party we attended uptown, the lively strains from the piano led our glances there to magically see none other than Chevy Chase tickling the ivories.
The night before that, we were overjoyed to find that a long-time favorite restaurant of ours that we'd feared had lost its luster was back — and, magically, better than ever.
Gramercy Tavern is a quintessential New York restaurant — such a vital part of the city since the minute it opened that it's hard to imagine Manhattan without it. It's an amalgam of a beautiful and comfortable setting, kind and professional Danny Meyer-esque service, and — for a long time — great food.
When we found the food wasn't so great on our last few visits, we feared we wouldn't return again. Then the very talented chef Michael Anthony (most recently responsible for one of our best meals of recent memory at Blue Hill at Stone Barns) was brought in to head the kitchen a couple of months ago.
Based on our virtually flawless dinner there the other night, it's obvious that Mike is not only restoring the cuisine at Gramercy Tavern to its former luster, but he's actually (with apologies to Emeril) "kicking it up a notch."
If you're lucky enough to find yourself being served by Emily, know that you can trust her wine pairing recommendations. We especially enjoyed her pairings of glasses of Prosecco with the fluke tartare and of Gruner Veltliner with the lobster.
Gramercy Tavern, tastefully decorated for the holidays to evoke the most elegant country inn imaginable, is in the process of being reborn as a magical, not-to-be-missed experience of great cuisine and hospitality and ambiance. It's hard to think of a better setting in which to enjoy your own magical celebration this time of year.
Gramercy Tavern is at 42 East 20th Street, near Park Avenue. (212)
477-0777. Web: www.gramercytavern.com
Setting the Table: The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business by Danny Meyer can be ordered here.
Cookbook Stall proprietor Jill Ross with Andrew Dornenburg
6-month-old Emerson learns Korean behind the fish counter!
Wednesday, December 6, 2006 — Culinary booksellers play an important role in our world. Nach Waxman of the granddaddy of all culinary bookstores Kitchen Arts & Letters in New York City has an encyclopedic knowledge of books, which we tapped to great effect in our 2003 book THE NEW AMERICAN CHEF, in which he recommends leading cookbooks on the 10 different featured cuisines.
Yesterday, we had the pleasure of meeting the new proprietor of The Cookbook Stall in Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia, Jill Ross. We were impressed that even with a six-month-old, she manages to run this well-stocked store and keep track of an ever-growing array of books! Then we learned her secret: the Korean ladies at the fish market a few stalls away find baby Emerson absolutely irresistable (as did we!), and enjoy cooing over him behind the fish counter which frees Jill up to get more work done!
The Cookbook Stall is at Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia. Phone:
(215) 923-3170. Jill Ross, proprietor.
Kitchen Arts and Letters is at
1435 Lexington Ave. in New York City. (212)
876-5550. Nach Waxman, proprietor.
Tuesday, December 5, 2006 — The issue of The New Yorker hitting newsstands this week (December 11, 2006) features a lovely full-page four-color ad that announces WHAT TO DRINK WITH WHAT YOU EAT's designation as the 2006 Georges Duboeuf Wine Book of the Year. Our thanks to our publisher, Hachette's Little, Brown's Bulfinch Press.
You'll enjoy the illustrations running through the magazine (pp. 50-101 that tell the story of the life of a wine bottle. There's also an interesting piece by Anthony Lane on "Living in Disney's World." Can you believe that the Walt Disney classics "Bambi," "Dumbo," "Fantasia," "Pinnochio" and "Snow White" were all created in a single five-year period (1937-1942)?
Dottie's was the site of our favorite breakfast in October
Dottie's black bean cakes with eggs, potatoes, and cornbread
Dottie's pancakes of the day: cranberry, with maple syrup
The long line outside Mama's in Washington Square at 8 am
The hard-working (and talented!) cooks at Mama's
Mama's Dungeness crab omelette with avocado
Mama's French toast with bananas and maple syrup
Outside Mama's, club goers pose with a family of tourists
Sunday, December 3, 2006 — We're back to San Francisco again this morning — virtually, of course — in honor of our friend Susan's visit there this weekend. As we sit down to breakfast, we're reminded of our two favorite breakfasts there during our October visit.
Dottie's True Blue Cafe is at
522 Jones Street,
Mama's on Washington Square is at
1701 Stockton Street, San Francisco. (415) 362-6421.
From our email box:
"...I should be thanking you for such an extraordinary book [CULINARY ARTISTRY]. Nothing has helped me more through culinary and pastry school — not even the texts! I am so thrilled to learn that you have published a new book [WHAT TO DRINK WITH WHAT YOU EAT]...
Thanks again and have a wonderful holiday season."
Northwest Culinary Academy of Vancouver
Passing a Christmas tree farm on the way to Half Moon Bay
View from the Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay
Pouring a taste of Dom Perignon Vintage 1998
At the Dom Perignon tasting and panel discussion
Dom Perignon Ambassador Lisanne Lapointe
makes a point...
...and even the master sommeliers in the room listen closely!
Afterward, we went outside to enjoy...more Champagne!
Leaving Half Moon Bay at sunset: a beautiful farewell
"Come quickly — I am tasting the stars!"
— Quote often attributed to Dom Perignon as his first words upon tasting Champagne
Thursday, November 30, 2006 — While emailing our friend Susan this morning, we learned that she and her husband were on their way to San Francisco this weekend, which brought back a flood of delicious memories from our own visit exactly one month ago. We decided to celebrate a few today in their honor. Happy travels, Susan!
Saturday, October 28th, marked the single most educational Champagne experience of our lives to date. We've been telling journalists across America about it on our book tour ever since, and are finally happy to be able to share it with you. We have Marcia
Gagliardi of Tablehopper.com to thank for tipping us off via email to the fact that the food and wine extravaganza "Inside the Kitchen" was taking place at the Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay (about an hour outside San Francisco) while we were in town.
We scanned the list of participating chefs and wine experts and were happy to see so many familiar names, but were really excited to see the names of Dom Perignon's Lisane Lapointe, who is a featured Champagne expert in WHAT TO DRINK WITH WHAT YOU EAT, and fellow Harvard MBA Jenna Fagnan, both of whom we'd only met via phone.
These are two powerful women, because they worked a minor miracle in enabling us to attend the Dom Perignon tasting of 11 different vintages that Saturday afternoon:
- Dom Perignon Vintage 1998 (which we'd love with raw shellfish)
- Dom Perignon Vintage 1996 (toasty, lemon nose)
- Dom Perignon Rose Vintage 1996 (red berry nose)
- Dom Perignon Vintage 1995 (lemony, with a creamy texture)
- Dom Perignon Rose Vintage 1995 (fruit-forward, effervescent)
Dom Perignon Oenotheque Vintage 1993 (fresh and crisp)
- Dom Perignon Oenotheque Vintage 1990 (an earthy caramel-like aroma and taste that could pair with mushroom risotto)
- Dom Perignon Rose Vintage 1990 in Magnum (meaty tomato nose)
- Dom Perigon Rose Vintage 1978 in Magnum (Burgundy nose)
- Dom Perignon Oenotheque Vintage 1976 (almost coffee-flavored, long finish that Karen perceived to get colder over time)
- Dom Perignon Oenotheque Vintage 1973 in Magnum (huge nose)
Jenna and Lisane ran an excellent panel, providing fascinating historical context (e.g. the serving of Dom Perignon Vintage 1959 at "The Greatest Party in the World" in 1971), and the sommeliers on the panel — Eugenio Jardim from San Francisco's Jardiniere and Robert Smith, MS, from Las Vegas' Picasso at Bellagio — contributed practical commentary about tasting and food pairing.
But it was the tasting itself of 11 great vintages of Dom Perignon that was most instructive. While it's easy to think of brut Champagne as having a singular profile (i.e. dry, clean, bubbly), we were able to taste the range of flavors the various vintages provided.
Afterward, we were invited to join Jenna and Lisane and their other guess outside on the veranda with its stunning views of the Pacific Ocean for some hors d'oeuvres and — what else? — more Dom Perignon.
The experience drove home several points for attendees: That Champagne is first and foremost a wine, and worthy of food pairing considerations just like any other great wine. That each vintage is a unique experience, with its own subtle pleasures to be savored. And, finally, that great Champagne is not to be saved for New Year's Eve, but to be enjoyed for its ability to turn even a Saturday afternoon into an unforgettable occasion!
Dom Perignon is at www.domperignon.com.
Inside the Kitchen is at www.insidethekitchen.net. Under the leadership of Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay wine director Matthew Turner, this event is a must for serious food and wine lovers in the Bay Area, and even worth getting on a plane to attend.
Tablehopper is at www.tablehopper.com. ("Susan, need a restaurant recommendation in San Francisco? Click here!")