James Beard Award and Georges Duboeuf 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.”
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
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!")
From our emailbox, even more examples of how our friends inspire us:
"Big Brothers Big Sisters of Los Angeles and the Inland Empire (BBBSLAIE) will
honor top talent from the entertainment industry at its Rising Stars Gala,
November 30, 2006 at The Beverly Hilton Hotel. The awards recognize outstanding
members of the entertainment community who are inspiring and positive role
models for young people....Television anchor, legal analyst, trial attorney, actor and best-selling author
Rikki Klieman Bratton will receive the Sherry Lansing Award for her support of many philanthropic causes and passion for mentoring young people....
"Television anchor, legal analyst, trial attorney, actor and best-selling author Rikki Klieman Bratton will receive the Sherry Lansing Award. An anchor at the Courtroom Television Network since 1994 and now a legal analyst with CBS, she has also worked for NBC's Today Show and the E! Network. In 2003, Rikki relocated from New York to California to join her husband, Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton, where she pursues her passions of mentoring young people and joining in the fight against domestic violence. She is a member of the Board of Directors of the Rape Treatment Center of UCLA-Santa Monica and the Board of Directors of LA's Best, an after school enrichment program for disadvantaged elementary school children. She continues to inspire the lives of others with her autobiography, Fairy Tales Can Come True — How a Driven Woman Changed Her Destiny."
—Google News alert
"This picture reveals why my soul is deeply connected to Africa and our work
with Tabasamu there. During our last visit, we taught this man how to
professionally clean teeth and gave him some instruments. Now he is the
village dental hygienist!! Give a man a fish....Please pass this on to
any dental workers you know that might be interested in joining us for an
adventure that will turn your life inside-out or anyone who doesn't believe
that one person can make difference in the world. Hope abounds....Thanks for
your support. I am so humbled,"
—Trey (Dr. Edward Wilson), New York City
A slice of pumpkin pie in front of a whole pecan pie,
courtesy of Royers Round Top Cafe (Call 1-877-866-PIES)
Wednesday, November 29, 2006 — We've been extending our holiday celebration with some of the tastiest pies available in America today. And that's not only our opinion: Just ask Bon Appetit, Texas Monthly, and Jane and Michael Stern, who have all called Bud's pies among the country's best.
Who's Bud, you ask? Why, Bud, the Pieman, of course! He's the founder and figurehead of Royers Round Top Cafe in Round Top, Texas, which for the last eight years has been owned by his daughter Tara. And he's so full of life that to know him is to love him. (And we know him, by email and phone since researching our book CHEF'S NIGHT OUT and in person as of a couple of years ago.)
In any case, Bud's pecan pie has for the past five years been our favorite pecan pie of all time, but as of this week his pumpkin pie has earned a place as our favorite pumpkin pie of all time.
We never had a second-favorite pumpkin pie. In fact, pumpkin pie isn't something that ever interested us much. Until Bud's. It has just enough pumpkin pie spice to make it compelling, but not a dash more — plus an addictive lard-based crust that is almost like eating shortbread. It's got to be tasted to be believed.
The flavor of Bud's pies is reason enough to order them. But we're also impressed with Bud's Pie Empowerment Project, which partners with American Youth Works to staff the kitchen.
So, what are you waiting for? Head on over to Royers Round Top Cafe to order your holiday pies (or your holiday pie gifts) now. You'll thank us later.
Royers Round Top Cafe is at (877) 866-PIES. Web: www.royersroundtopcafe.com. The company's most popular pie is a chocolate chip pie that was once named one of the year's best dishes by USA TODAY. While it's admittedly delicious, we love the pecan and pumpkin pies even more. Over the years, we just might have tried them all, and we haven't tasted one yet that we wouldn't want to taste again right this minute!
Ali Baba appetizer of Eggplant with Sauce
Ali Baba's Chicken Kebab, served with rice and salads
The dessert tray at Ali Baba, at 212 East 34th Street
The delicious made-to-order Kunefe dessert at Ali Baba
Tuesday, November 28, 2006 — Restaurants looking to celebrate "upscale ethnic cuisine" in a more formal setting fight an uphill battle: Not only do diners compare your offerings to what else they could be eating at the same price point (e.g. French, Italian), but they compare your version of a particular dish to one available for one-third the price at their neighborhood ethnic joint.
Witnessing the popularity of Rick Bayless's upscale Mexican offerings at Chicago's Frontera Grill and Topolobampo, it's clear that some restaurants succeed nonetheless. Not only would you prefer to eat at either restaurant over any other Mexican restaurant in America, but you'd be hard-pressed to choose many other fine dining restaurants in the city over Topolobampo.
We thought about this yesterday after an excellent lunch at the informal Turkish restaurant Ali Baba in Murray Hill, on the heels of our recent sticker shock afer stopping by a new upscale Turkish restaurant a half-mile away for some appetizers, wine, and dessert and being presented with a three-digit bill.
In a city filled with excellent Turkish restaurants that we've enjoyed, Ali Baba sets the bar for its quality/price ratio. We'd put the restaurant's babaganush (served with pretzel-like bread) and baklava up against any other restaurant's at any price point.
Ali Baba's $9.95 two-course lunch special is one of the best values in the city, although you'll certainly want to "splurge" for some white sauce ($1) to go with your chicken kebab and you won't want to miss the delicious kunefe for dessert (shredded filo filled with melted cheese topped with crushed pistachios, all baked into a sweet, crunchy pancake
that is big enough for two to share). Our waitress Aysen provided such lovely service that we felt well looked after to boot.
Ali Baba is such a winning experience that it offers a daunting challenge to the city's higher-priced Turkish restaurants, whose delicious decor you unfortunately can't eat.
Ali Baba is at 212 East 34th Street (bet. Second and Third Avenues), New York City. (212) 683-9206. Web: www.alibabaturkishcuisine.com
Some of the wines we enjoyed with our Thanksgiving dinner
Tasting Zinfandel, Riesling, and sparkling Shiraz over dinner
One of the most delicious Thanksgiving dinners of all time
About to enjoy Cynthia's homemade apple pie for dessert!
Saturday, November 25, 2006 — This year's Thanksgiving dinner set a new bar for deliciousness, which is not patting ourselves on the back because we were simply guests at our friends' Greenwich Village home.
One of the highlights was a brined-then-roasted turkey procured from Florence Meat Market, whose posted customer list for Thanksgiving turkeys apparently (but not surprisingly) included fellow food writers such as Mimi Sheraton.
Florence Meat Market is at 5 Jones Street (bet. West Fourth Street and Bleecker), New York City. (212)
242-6531. Florence also carries one of our favorite steaks of all time: the Newport.
GrooveLily last night in their holiday show "Striking 12"
We gotta give the drummer some: This one's for you, Gene!
Gene Lewin, Valerie Vigoda, and Brendan Milburn...
...take a well-deserved bow in front of an admiring crowd
A crowd that lingered to meet the cast, who signed CDs
We shared a drink (or two) after the show in the D-Lounge
Seeing just how cute 14-month-old Mose has gotten!
"As much rock concert as theatre. The harmonies induce chills!"
"Thoroughly winning...Alive with wit and humor."
—The New York Times
"As warm and inviting as a mug of hot apple cider."
—The New Yorker
Thursday, November 23, 2006 — We've got much to be thankful for today, not the least of which is having hearts that are full from connecting with so many dear friends this week. Last night, it was with the multi-talented cast of GrooveLily— Valerie Vigoda, Brendan Milburn, and Gene Lewin — after their must-see off-Broadway holiday show "Striking 12."
We've seen "Striking 12" in each of its incarnations — including its debut at the Prince Music Theater in Philadelphia — and the show just keeps getting better and better.
"Striking 12" is playing at least through New Year's Eve at the Daryl Roth Theater (20 Union Square East, on 15th Street). Strongly recommended for the holiday season, for all ages. Web: www.striking12.com
"Our dear friends Karen and Andrew have done it again.
Their brand-new book WHAT TO DRINK WITH WHAT YOU EAT is a knockout, as well as a wonderful resource for anyone interested in maximizing the flavor in their lives. Check out the photos of Val and Brendan on the back cover, and inside the book!"
—From GrooveLily's October 2006 newsletter
WNYC's offices, as seen from the Brooklyn Bridge
We had the great pleasure of being interviewed by James Beard Award-winning radio host Leonard Lopate again yesterday on "The Leonard Lopate Show" on WNYC Radio. He was one of the journalists to whom we'll always be grateful for featuring our mostly overlooked book CULINARY ARTISTRY a decade ago. (GrooveLily's Brendan Milburn's mom Julie is a fan of the popular NPR show, and called Brendan over to the radio so he could hear the end of our interview!)
As WNYC's Web site attests, "Host Leonard Lopate lets you in on the best conversations with writers, actors, ex-presidents, dancers, scientists, comedians, historians, grammarians, curators, filmmakers, and do-it-yourself experts," who have included the likes of Nora Ephron, Doris Lessing, Mark Morris,
Suzan-Lori Parks, and John Updike. We're proud to be in such company — twice now!
"The Leonard Lopate Show" is on WNYC Radio at 93.9 FM and AM 820 on weekdays at noon. Web: www.wnyc.org
Want to listen to our interview with Leonard? Click here.
To go with pizza by the inch: Italian beer, and Chianti
A half-order of spinach salad with nuts and cheese ($5)
Our delicious pizza-by-the-inch at P.I.N.C.H.
We'd heard positive things about P.I.N.C.H. (Pizza by the Inch), but from the outside it always looked like just another New York pizza spot. When an errand took us nearby around lunchtime the other day, we decided to check it out — and are glad we did. We were surprised to find everything from the food to the service a definite step up from what we'd anticipated. And we especially enjoyed the crisp-crusted thin pizza with our choice of toppings (sweet sausage and ricotta on one, and pepperoni and smoked mozzarella on the other). We'd happily return if we were to find ourselves in the neighborhood at lunchtime.
P.I.N.C.H. is at
416 Park Ave South (near 28th Street), New York. (212) 686-5222. Web: www.pizzabytheinch.com
Award-winning radio hosts David Michael Cane and Rachel
Cane and Salsa Twins
Jim and John Thomas Jr. of El Pinto
Rachel and David Michael Cane's cute canine companion Lucy
She's Got Legs: The turducken (turkey - duck - chicken)
Rachel shoots David Michael Cane carving the turducken
Sitting down to our turducken dinner, with thanks
Multi-talented David Michael Cane makes his own pastrami!
We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.
Thornton Wilder, American writer (1897-1975), under a feature on WHAT TO DRINK WITH WHAT YOU EAT on today's BellyDuJour.com
Tuesday, November 21, 2006 — During our book tours, there's typically an overabundance of restaurant meals and room service, but little homespun hospitality — which (along with our first turducken!) made our Sunday, October 29th dinner at the home of James Beard Award-winning radio hosts of San Francisco's "A Matter of Taste" Rachel and David Michael Cane all the more lovely and memorable.
And how could we pass up the opportunity to sample our first turducken (a chicken stuffed inside a duck stuffed inside a turkey), which featured not one but two different stuffings (one wild rice, one cornbread)?
Three weeks later, we still treasure the memory of sitting down to the table with the Canes — and our hearts are still full!
"A Matter of Taste" is hosted by Rachel and David Michael Cane on Sundays from 4-6 pm on 960 AM "The Quake" via the Univeral Radio Network in San Francisco. Web: amatteroftaste.com
David's Old World Brand Pastrami can be found at retailers such as Dean & Deluca and restaurants such as 'Wichcraft.
From our emailbox, a hilarious email from David Michael Cane:
"...Saw your Blog, quite detailed, loved it. The Turducken became Turducken Pot Pie, quite good actually, too much for one sitting, back-up is in the freezer. Cooked an American Bronze turkey last Saturday 11/11, 20 lbs. great turkey, had Bruce Aidells and Nancy Oakes over for dinner, did a small bit of damage, gave away ½ the bird to Bruce and Nancy, still had leftovers, made 2 pot pies, ate one, and gave away one to our producer Greg...
For T-Day, I’m eating HAM; can’t look at another turkey for a few more weeks."
And others with kind words for WHAT TO DRINK WITH WHAT YOU EAT:
"I am very much enjoying the new book; it is a wealth of information. Job well done!"
!!—Gregory Bess, C.C., chef, Gaylord Opryland (Nashville)
"Keep up the good work....I enjoy everything you guys put your heart into to
create a secure, happy place for all of us foodies."
—Sandra Suria, Worldwide Flavors
Arriving at The Rainbow Room for Citymeals' Power Lunch...
...where there's always a crush of photographers on hand...
...to capture guests like Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway
Karen Page, the Hon. Leslie Crocker Snyder, and Fox's Lis Wiehl;
Kathleen Turner chats with Citymeals co-founder Gael Greene
Jewelry designer Jill Koplik, Court TV anchor and actress
Rikki Klieman, and Karen Page
Karen Page and bestselling author of The Circle Laura Day
School superintendent Dr. Carole Hankin, Smith Barney's
Laurie Hesslein, and Karen Page
Karen Page and WhatGoesAround.org's Donna Zaccaro
Meeting the great Meryl Streep at The Rainbow Room
Citymeals' legendary co-founder Gael Greene, Meryl Streep,
Children for Children director
Maggie Jones, and Karen Page
Karen Page, attorney Isabelle Kirshner, Michelle Paige
Silda Wall Spitzer, and Suri Kasirer
Michelle Paige Paterson, Silda Wall Spitzer, Suri Kasirer and
Karen Page pose for the camera
Karen photographed with the man behind the camera of
of the best pictures taken at this annual luncheon:
the gallant author
and photographer Patrick McMullan
Saturday, November 18, 2006 — There is simply no more enjoyable lunch of the year, nor one organized for a better cause, than Citymeals-on-Wheels' annual Power Lunch for Women, the 20th anniversary of which was held yesterday at the Rainbow Room raising a record-setting $1 million+ to feed the homebound elderly.
After choosing a table number from a large silver bowl, more than 300 women take their seats to meet an endlessly fascinating array of other women — plus "$10,000 men" who pay for the privilege of dining in such company.
Karen was delighted to pull Table 15 — which landed her next to one of her oldest friends (of more than two decades!), Donna Zaccaro of whatgoesaround.org, who it turned out had actually designed the gorgeous blouse she was wearing and of course already knew half the table, who included WOR's Donna Hanover, Hearst Editorial Director Ellen Levine, and Columbia University professor Ester Fuchs.
This year, Citymeals-on-Wheels will deliver 2.5 million meals to 17,500 elderly New Yorkers on weekends, holidays, and in times of emergency when they would otherwise be alone and hungry.
Homebound elderly are usually isolated: 75 percent live alone; 40 percent rarely or never leave their homes.
Seventy-three percent of recipients are women. They live longer than men, suffer from a lifelong pattern of income disparity, and often outlive potential caretakers like spouses, friends and even children.
Citymeals-on-Wheels is at www.citymeals.org. Please consider joining us in making a contribution this holiday season to Citymeals-on-Wheels to support its mission of providing a continuous lifeline of nutritious food and human company to homebound elderly New Yorkers in need, helping them live with dignity in their own familiar homes and communities.
Photographer Patrick McMullan has many more photos of yesterday's lunch on view at www.patrickmcmullan.com
Arriving at InTent for the lunchtime celebration of the
release of 2006 Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau
Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg celebrating with our
Karen Murgolo and Michael
Sand at InTent
The newly-tented front room at InTent; Francois Payard
told us that everyone wanted to sit under the tent, so
they added one in front, too!
Delicious fried hummus balls were passed as hors d'oeuvres
Franck Duboeuf and InTent chef Francois Payard
The sweet finale: poached pears stuffed with blue cheese
Andrew Dornenburg, Bill Deutsch, Karen
Page, and Franck Duboeuf
Taking home our 2006 Georges Duboeuf Best Wine Book of
the Year Award: a jerobaum of 2006 Georges Duboeuf
Beaujolais Nouveau, strapped into our cab for safety!
"Matching food and wine seems mysterious to many. Readers of this book will learn about how versatile Beaujolais is with food, and this comprehensive book is sure to guide readers to greater food and wine synergies."
—Franck Duboeuf, upon presenting the 2006 Georges Duboeuf Wine Book of the Year Award to WHAT TO DRINK WITH WHAT YOU EAT
Saturday, November 18, 2006 — On Thursday, November 16th, we arrived at InTent restaurant for a celebration of the release of the 2006 Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau. We left two-and-a-half hours later after lunch as recipients of the 2006 Georges Duboeuf Best Wine Book of the Year Award for our brand-new WHAT TO DRINK WITH WHAT YOU EAT.
Winners are selected for their ability to "illuminate the subject of wine for both the beginner and the connoisseur."
Bill Deutsch, CEO and Chairman of W.J. Deutsch and Sons, Ltd., and Franck Duboeuf of Les Vins Georges Duboeuf presented us with our consumable Award, a jeroboam of Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau 2006, in front of an audience of fellow wine and food writers.
We're thrilled to see WHAT TO DRINK WITH WHAT YOU EAT take its place among the distinguished past recipients of this coveted award, which include some of the bestselling wine books of all time, including The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil and the Windows on the World Wine Course by Kevin Zraly.
We're hopeful that this recognition will bring the book to the attention of more readers who will be able to use it to bring more pleasure into their lives, every single day.
"The past 25 years have seen major changes in how people consume wine. The standard rules constricting white wine to fish and chicken, and red wine with meat no longer apply. Today people are more sophisticated and adventurous; they are open to trying new ideas when it comes to pairing wine with food.”
CEO and Chairman of W.J. Deutsch and Sons, Ltd.
The open kitchen last night at Pera Brasserie at 303 Madison
A Turkish-style pizza, just out of the oven at Pera
The kitchen at Pera prepares hors d'oeuvres to pass
Spoonfuls of hummus with a hint of sumac
Karen Page, Pera's Cem Erenler, Baltz & Co.'s Chloe Mata
Thursday, November 16, 2006 — As of today, Le Beaujolais Nouveau est arrive! And so has Pera Brasserie, a chic new Turkish restaurant on Madison Avenue at 41st Street, whose opening party we attended last night at the invitation of Chloe Mata of Baltz & Company (who marked her own birthday yesterday).
Chloe introduced us to Pera Brasserie's Cem Erenler, a native of Turkey with such a passion for the hospitality profession (after stints at the Four Seasons and the Hudson Hotel) that he admits he teaches classes at a New Jersey culinary institute just have an outlet to share it.
Based on our brief taste of Pera at last night's opening party, we count his students as lucky, and ourselves — for living just around the corner in Murray Hill from this promising new restaurant — likewise.
Pera Brasserie is at 303 Madison Avenue (at 41st Street), New York City. (212) 878-6301. Pera opens today for lunch and dinner, and expects to soon offer breakfast as well.
Book party for 1100 Architect at SoHo's MoMA Design Store
Juergen Riehm signs a copy of his new book 1100 Architect
Juergen Riehm and Andrew Dornenburg (r.) share a laugh
Sign welcoming us to Hiroko Shimbo's book party at 15E15
Karen Page, Hiroko Shimbo, and her book's designer
Tasting three different wines at Gramercy Tavern
Pancetta-wrapped sardines with bok choy
Chicken liver crostini with onion jam at Gramercy Tavern
_Covers of 1100 Architect and The Sushi Experience
Wednesday, November 15, 2006 — Having so many overachieving friends can be exhausting. But we're not complaining. Last night, we had the pleasure of attending not one but two NYC book launch parties: one in SoHo at the MoMA Design Store for our architect friend Juergen Riehm (1100 Architect), and the other for our fellow culinary author and friend Hiroko Shimbo (The Sushi Experience). Either book would make an ideal holiday gift for any design and/or sushi lovers of your acquaintance.
We decided to walk home afterward, but heading east on 20th Street, we spied a lone empty table in the front tavern of Gramercy Tavern. Not believing our eyes, we ducked inside — and the table was offered to us. We'd sworn off Gramercy Tavern after our last two disappointing visits there, but that was before the exciting news of ex-Blue Hill at Stone Barns chef Michael Anthony's appointment as chef.
Gramercy Tavern is definitely back on our list as one of the best places in town to taste great wines by the glass (or by the "taste"), along with wonderful market-inspired dishes. We'll hope to return to sample their impressive assortment of cheeses with a glass of their terrific Gewurztraminer (which was a +2 pairing with the chicken liver crostini) — not to mention more of Michael Anthony's cooking — soon.
Gramercy Tavern is at 42 East 20th Street, New York City. (212) 477-0777. Web: www.gramercytavern.com
Rungsit Thai at 153 East 26th Street near Third Avenue
Rungsit Thai's Buddha shrine over its mantle
Ka Ree Puff: Vegetarian curry puffs with cucumber salad
Kra Dook Moo: Fried Thai spare ribs with toasted garlic
Yum Petd: Sliced boneless duck with peanuts and apple,
best spooned over white rice and eaten as a salad
Crisp fried bananas (with jackfruit and two cheeses), served
red fruit sauce and sesame seeds
"My five favorite restaurants in San Francisco include any corner Thai restaurant. Thai red curry is my new Jewish penicillin; it is very comforting to me. I don't have a favorite Thai restaurant because the cooks change so often."
—Chef Gary Danko, in our book Chef's Night Out
Tuesday, November 14, 2006 — There's no better occasion for comfort food than returning home after being out on the road on book tour (with WHAT TO DRINK WITH WHAT YOU EAT) for a few weeks. And as long-time New Yorkers, ethnic food is our comfort food.
After our favorite neighborhood Thai restaurant Rungsit had closed, we stopped eating Thai unless we were in a different part of town, as we've never been fans of the other Thai restaurant nearby. But the other week while walking near 26th and Third, we were excited to spot a familar logo: Rungsit had reopened in a new location! The other night — our first night out in New York City since returning home — we were able to check it out.
Now, this is not a restaurant worth traveling to visit (because your own corner Thai might be just as good or better), but Rungsit Thai is certainly a restaurant worth knowing about — and even celebrating the return of — if you happen to live in the neighborhood and/or see movies at the Kips Bay Loews.
Over the years, we have seen the restaurant through fires, redesigns, change of cooks and ownership — and now a change of location. What's rarely changed is its menu, which has allowed us to discover favorites like the vegetarian curry puffs (made with pureed potatoes, onions and mushrooms; $4), and the fabulous yum petd (duck salad with peanuts and apple; $9).
We wish the wine list were better (who wants to drink Cabernet with Thai food??), but we make do with a glass of the 2005 Firestone Riesling ($6.50), which is one of the food-friendliest offerings by the glass.
We're glad that the modest pleasures of Rungsit Thai are again within walking distance of our apartment — and to have one more reason to be happy to be home.
Rungsit Thai is at 153 East 26th Street (bet. Third and Lexington Aves.), New York. Phone: (212) 689-1479. Delivery available, but there can be long delays at peak hours.
Our eastbound plane's wing illuminated by the setting sun
A magical watering can at Patty's Eggnest (WA) fills itself!
Our scenic drive south from Vancouver to Seattle
Clouds Andrew likened to Harry Potter-esque "Death Eaters"
Saturday, November 11, 2006 — We couldn't be happier than to have just spent a night in our own bed in Manhattan after being on the road with WHAT TO DRINK WITH WHAT YOU EAT for most of the past two weeks! We hope you'll check back as we catch up on posting photo essays on our recent travels.
Andrew Dornenburg, Barbara-jo McIntosh, Karen Page
Seared Nova Scotia Scallops at Cru in Vancouver
Braised Beef Short Ribs and Seared Tenderloin at Cru
Chef Dana's sous chef Shaun, Andrew, and Jeulia at Cru
Nels, Karole, Shannon and Andrew at Cru in Vancouver
Andrea, Darren, Karen, Chris and Leanne at Cru
The bar and front room at Diva at the Met
Our table with its view of the open kitchen at Diva
Salad with house-smoked salmon and marinated scallops
Diva's soup celebrated the flavors of autumn
Watching the chefs cook between courses
The salmon at Diva at the Met
The skate at Diva at the Met
Dessert is a celebration of chocolate and pistachio
It was a rare treat to find ourselves with an open lunch on our schedule in Vancouver, and even more of one to decide to enjoy it together at our hotel restaurant Diva at the Met. The restaurant has been cited as Vancouver's "Best Hotel Dining," which is no surprise to us, given that the food tasted even better than it looks above!
Diva at the Met is at the Metropolitan Hotel in Vancouver.
Vij's and Rangoli restaurants in Vancouver
Indian appetizers at Vij's in Vancouver
Appetizers at Vij's
Entrees at Vij's -- including "lamb popsicles" in the foreground
The kitchen full of talented women at Vij's after dinner
When our Vancouver host Barbara-jo McIntosh asked us if there were any restaurants we were especially interested in visiting during our all-too-brief visit to Vancouver, the one at the top of our list was Vij's. After hearing that we'd been to chef-owner Vikram Vij's other Indian restaurant Rangoli for lunch, she suspected we might have a change of heart, but our love of Indian flavors had us stand firm: Nowhere else would do.
Our intuition served us well: Our dinner at Vij's was not only the single best meal of our visit to Vancouver, but was one of the two best Indian dinners we've ever had the pleasure to experience. (The other was the work of New York City co-chefs Suvir Saran and Hemant Mathur.)
Vij's is at
1480 11th Avenue West, Vancouver, BC, Canada. (604) 736-6664. Web: www.vijs.ca
It's hard to imagine staying anywhere other than the Met:
Our "Welcome" gift of a fruit basket with biscotti, two creamy chocolates (one dark, one white) for dipping, and extra straw-
berries, plus mineral water and a hand-written note
Our gorgeous suite at Vancouver's Metropolitan Hotel
Andrew Dornenburg, Julian Bond, Karen Page at Barbara-Jo's
Chef Darren, Karen Page, and chef Dan Close at Barbara-Jo's
The beautiful tiled wall in the dining room of Rangoli
Rangoli's Savoury Chaat: whole wheat crisps with potatoes,
sprouts, chutneys and yogurt
Coconut chicken curry (l.) and fennel and yogurt pork curry (r.),
both served with rice and naan, at Vikram Vij's Rangoli
Thursday, November 9, 2006 — Greetings from Vancouver, where we're currently on our book tour for WHAT TO DRINK WITH WHAT YOU EAT. And if the city keeps being this nice to us, perhaps we'd almost consider never leaving! We're hoping to have a moment today to catch up on some of our blogging re: details of our visits to Vancouver, Seattle, Bellingham, and New Orleans.
Last night we were hosted for a fabulous event at Barbara-Jo's Books to Cooks in Vancouver, where Cactus Club Cafe executive chef Julian Bond brought in 40 of his top chefs for a delicious discussion of our books WHAT TO DRINK WITH WHAT YOU EAT and CULINARY ARTISTRY, and we stayed until we'd signed each and every copy.
If you're in Vancouver, we hope we'll be seeing you tonight at Cru restaurant in Vancouver for a food and wine pairing dinner that promises to be educational and entertaining!
Barbara-Jo's Books to Cooks is not only a Vancouver treasure, but a culinary world treasure — as is its owner Barbara-jo McIntosh. www.bookstocooks.com
Cactus Club Cafe insists on its Web site and chefs' jackets that it strives to ensure that "every customer leaves happy." www.cactusclubcafe.com
Cru restaurant is at www.cru.ca.
Metropolitan Hotel is at 645 Howe Street in Vancouver. (604) 687-1122. www.metropolitan.com/vanc.
Rangoli is at
1488 W. 11th, Vancouver, BC, Canada. (604) 736-5711. Web: www.vijsrangoli.ca
Exciting news from our emailbox:
David Leite, host of the 2006 James Beard Award-winning Web site LeitesCulinaria.com, just inked a deal to write his first cookbook on Portuguese cuisine for Clarkson Potter.
It's about time a publisher signed up a book on this underrepresented cuisine, and we can't imagine anyone better suited to write it than David.
And more good news: You don't have to wait years for a taste of David's fine writing:
Anyone interested in
Portuguese food, cooking, and culture can sign up for David's newsletter at
leitesculinaria.com/newsletter/signup.html. He plans to carry on a dialogue with readers about what they'd like to see in
his forthcoming book.
Scenes from Bellingham, Washington: Tuesday night
The sign welcoming you to Nimbus on the 14th Floor
The dining room at Nimbus in Bellinham, Washington
The beautiful nighttime view of Bellingham from Nimbus
Serving olive oil with a reduced balsamic vinegar logo for the
bread was one of the freshest presentations we've ever seen
(and delicious to
Amuse bouche of "Dirty Gin Martini": Beef tenderloin tartare,
truffle vinaigrette, gorgonzola, martini gelee, and arugula
"Bacon and Eggs": Duck Fat Scrambled Eggs, Poached Quail
Eggs with Bacon Foam, Truffled Duck Hollandaise served
with Preserved Lemon "Drop" Soda
Matsutaki Mushroom Creme Brulee: Sauteed Matsutakis and
Chanterelles, Frisee, Truffle Vinaigrette and Crispy Shiitakes
Delicata "Capellini" with Sage Brown Butter and Housemade
Tofu Sausage, served with Elysian Brewery Pumpkin Ale,
was one of the best beer and food pairings we've ever had
Amish Blue Cheese with Toasted Baguette, Baby Arugula
Candied Walnuts, served with Normandy Pear Cider
Pan Seared Duck Breast served with Farro, Braised Beets,
Poached Apples, and a Bing Cherry Demi
House-Made Doughnuts served with a Caramel Apple Float
with Praline Ice Cream was our favorite doughnut this trip!
Andrew (with our terrific waiter in the background) chats
with Nimbus co-chefs Josh Silverman and James Winberg
Josh Silverman, Karen Page, and James Winberg at Nimbus
Sitting down for an eight-course dinner at the new restaurant Nimbus in Bellingham, Washington, on Tuesday night provided us with one of the most unexpected high points of our entire visit to the Pacific Northwest.
And we mean that both figuratively and literally, as Nimbus is located on the 14th floor of the Bellingham Towers, providing a romantic nighttime view of the city lights. Talented young co-chefs and co-owners Josh Silverman and James Winberg exhibit an impressive maturity that belies their years: We found ourselves admiring not only the well-considered flavor pairings of their dishes not to mention their beverage pairings with each dish, but also their good judgment in serving controlled portions so as not to be overwhelming.
We can't recommend Nimbus more highly to adventure-seeking residents of Bellingham and its surrounding areas, including Vancouver shoppers making the trip south who are looking for a place to enjoy a delightful dinner out.
Nimbus is at 119 N. Commercial Street in Bellingham, Washington (about 90 minutes south of Vancouver). Web: www.nimbusrestaurant.com
Scenes from Seattle: Tuesday
At Starbucks with the great team at Amazon.com in Seattle,
with Andrew and Karen flanking Brad Parsons!
Judy Amster's bookshelves, and our books' spot of honor!
We had lunch with one of these women on Tuesday...and
another happens to be a dear friend of ours in New York City!
Who knew they'd gone to high school together??
Enjoying appetizers at Seattle Times restaurant critic Nancy
Leson's favorite Japanese restaurant Saito's in Seattle
A pristine assortment of fabulous sushi was followed by...
...an embarrassment of riches for lovers of uni (sea urchin)!
Mario Batali's dad Armandino's Seattle restaurant Salumi
A closer peek at (and behind) the counter at Salumi
One look at the packed front dining room at Salumi...
...made us realize how lucky we were to be offered the back room
for an incredibly hospitable spread of Italian delicacies, so Karen jumped on her cellphone to invite Nancy to join us. And she did!
We started with a platter of namesake salumi and cheeses...
directly behind us in a room visible through a window
And that was only the beginning of our spread of meat treats!
Our family-sized platter of handmade gnocchi at Salumi
Mario's incredibly gracious sister Gina Batali thoughtfully
insisted that Judy take the leftover gnocchi home
Andrew, Lillian Welch, and Karen at Queen Anne Books,
after Lillian told us she was a huge fan of Culinary Artistry
Saying good-bye to our Seattle host Judy Amster of Kim
Ricketts Events, whom Karen first met a decade ago when
she'd cold-called Powell's Books for Cooks about our 1st book
Queen Anne Books is at
1811 Queen Anne Avenue in North
(206) 283-5624. Web: www.queenannebooks.com
Saito's is at 2122 2nd Ave. (bet. 2nd and Blanchard), Seattle. Phone:
(206) 728-1333. Web: www.saitos-cafe.com.
Salumi is at 309 3rd Ave. South in Seattle. Phone:
(206) 621-8772. Web: www.salumicuredmeats.com
We'd emailed Mario Batali to let him know how thrilled and touched we were to have received such a hospitable welcome from his family at Salumi, and Mario emailed us back to express how pleased he was...adding the intriguing postscript:
"...ps check out the la times piece today on the crime caper at mozza!!! funny"
Curiosity got the better of us, so we headed over to the Los Angeles Times' Web site to read Russ Parsons' hilarious report that "Mozza's salumi is a hit — with thief" (on the soon-to-be-opening LA restaurant collaboration of Mario Batali and, Joe Bastianich, and Nancy Silverton and the mysterious theft of $700 worth of cured meats from Salumi by a khaki-shorted guy on a bike), which you can read by clicking here.
Scenes from Seattle: Monday
We spoke to a full house at Microsoft on Monday at 12:30 pm
Then Judy took us to Lola for lunch, including shawarma...
...and meatballs with feta and tomato
Order doughnuts at Lola, and get a paper bag full of fresh, hot
ones shaken in cinnamon-sugar to dip into cream and jam...
A memorable presentation, not to mention doughnut!
If some doughnuts are good, aren't more even better?
The display case at Top Pot Doughnuts
Arriving for our event Monday night at Dahlia Lounge
The beautiful food and wine pairing menu for our dinner
Andrew Dornenburg, Karen Page, chef-owner Tom Douglas
Katie and her friend Lynda with Robert over dinner
Cafe Nola's Dannie, chef Justin Coleman, and wine guru
Kevin with Karen Page at Dahlia Lounge
Karen especially enjoyed speaking with Rachel Bjornson and
Crystal Leahy (readers of AmateurGourmet.com)
discovery that Chardonnay paired with the right
buttery scallops) can be a beautiful thing!
Andrew making new friends from Texas (i.e. Earl & Julie)
and Australia (i.e. Alex & Jane)!
Andrew and Karen with Sharron and Robert Shinbo, who had
just had our friend Hiroko Shimbo to dinner recently
Chatting with the fun-loving crowd at Dahlia Lounge...
...we were flattered to see some already reading our book!
Dahlia Lounge is at 2001 4th Ave. (at Virginia), Seattle. (206)
682-4142. Web: TomDouglas.com/dahlia
Lola is at 2000 4th Ave. (at Virginia), Seattle.
(206) 441-1430. Web: TomDouglas.com/lola
Top Pot Doughnuts is a chain with locations throughout Seattle. Web: www.toppotdoughnuts.com.
Scenes from New Orleans: Saturday night
A number of distinguished Latin guitar players graced the
aptly named Words & Music festival in New Orleans, including
this excellent one after our 5:00 pm panel discussion
The crowds outside Galatoire's on Bourbon Street
GM Chris Ycaza greeted us with glasses of Veuve Clicquot
Galatoire's trio of seafoods included shrimp remoulade (c.)
Galatoire's version of Oysters Rockefeller
Our cup of turtle soup was accented with a splash of sherry
We enjoyed a bottle of Bastianich Tocai Friulano with dinner
Galatoire's trout almondine, served with lemon wedges
Banana bread pudding with bourbon sauce at Galatoire's
Andrew chats with Galatoire's new GM Chris Ycaza
Posing after dinner with our personable waiter at Galatoire's
We'd grown tired of seeing the shocked looks on others' faces whenever we admitted that we'd never before dined at Galatoire's, the 101-year-old legendary New Orleans restaurant.
After learning that the charming and knowledgeable sommelier Chris Ycaza whom we'd enjoyed meeting in July at Cuvee had been named the new General Manager of Galatoire's (during our second delightful visit to Cuvee), we decided to stop by and say hello.
That turned into an unforgettable (and unexpectedly long, though we're not complaining!) evening at Galatoire's which, after more than a century in business, has clearly mastered the art of hospitality.
Still, Galatoire's is less of a restaurant than an event, with the main attractions being its sense of history and place, its ambiance and atmosphere, and its aforementioned hospitality. Over the course of the evening, we sang "Happy Birthday" to no fewer than a half-dozen different strangers seated at tables located throughout the lively downstairs dining room, only contributing to the party-like atmosphere -- but definitely a well-bred party, as opposed to the frat party-like atmosphere that dominates outside the restaurant on Bourbon Street.
It was a moment for us to get to sample Galatoire's classic dishes, at long last. But the real pleasure was in feeling a part of the energy and enthusiasm that is Galatoire's, if only for one night.
Galatoire's is at 209 Bourbon Street in New Orleans' French Quarter.
Phone: (504) 525-2021. Web: www.galatoires.com
Our waiter thoughtfully presented us with recipe cards for a number of the dishes we sampled at Galatoire's, including:
1 stalk of celery
1 bunch of green onions
1/2 bunch of parsley
1/2 pound of spinach
1/4 pound of butter
3 tablespoons of Lea and Perrin
3 tablespoons of vinegar
1 teaspoon anise
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon bay leaf, ground
1/2 cup of ketchup
1/3 ounce of Herbsaint
2 dashes of Tabasco
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cups of ground bread crumbs
2 dozen oysters, poached
In a food processor fitted with a steel blade, chop all vegetables very fine. Remove to a ceramic or glass bowl and add melted butter, Lea and Perrin, and vinegar. Mix thoroughly. Add anise, thyme, bay leaf, ketchup, Herbsaint, Tabasco, salt and pepper. Mix well. Add bread crumbs and mix well.
Place each poached oyster on a shell and cover each shell with a spoonful of the Rockefeller sauce. Broil oysters until brown and serve hot.
Serves 4 as an appetizer.
The revolving bar at New Orleans' Hotel Monteleone
"Late-blooming" authors Pamela Binnings Ewen, Marie Arana,
Loraine Despres and Julia Glass at Words & Music
Herb-Roasted Louisiana Shrimp w/Crimean Cup a la Marmora
Executive sous chef Juan Gonzalez describes a dish to Karen
Classic Side Car with Fleur de Lis Blue Crab Souffle
Bar chef Lu Brow drops off our next cocktail
Karen admires the color of her Satsuma Scotch Old Fashioned
General manager Dan Davis helps create our next drink
Satsuma "Upside Down" Cake, with Hot Toddy
Honoring the inspiration for much of our food and drink at
Adelaide: raw, unpeeled satsuma, plus satsuma sections
Cafe Adelaide bar chef Lu Brow, Dr. Cocktail Ted Haigh, Cafe
Adelaide general manager Dan Davis, Andrew Dornenburg
Saturday, November 4, 2006 — Greetings from New Orleans, where we have the pleasure and privilege of speaking at the Words & Music literary festival today. [P.S. Added Nov. 11th: Check out fellow panelist novelist Poppy Z. Brite's hilarious description of the panel on her Nov. 4th Blog here.] Hosted by the Pirate's Alley Faulkner Society, this event brings together notable authors for a delicious weekend of panels and discussions.
We have our novelist and screenwriter friend Loraine Despres to thank for introducing us to Words & Music organizer Rosemary James, which resulted in our presence here this weekend.
How lucky were we to learn about the new cocktail and food pairings being offered by Cafe Adelaide at what's being billed as the country's first "Bar Chef Table" just 24 hours before our visit to New Orleans! We were able to stop by last night for a taste of bar chef Lu Brow's beautiful cocktails, paired with executive sous chef Juan Gonzalez's renditions of the kitchen's best matches:
Fall Tasting Menu
Herb Roasted Louisiana Shrimp with
Grilled fall tomatoes, shallot confit and truffled butternut puree
Crimean Cup a la Marmora
sugar, Myers rum, brandy, maraschino liqueur, rum, orgeat, lemon juice
Fleur de Lis Blue Crab Souffle with
Melted leeks, oyster mushrooms and Fleur de Lis fondue
Classic Side Car
brandy, Cointreau, pressed lemon, frosted sugar ring
Cast Iron Seared Duck Breast with
Duck cracklin' dirty rice, green onion duck sausage, bacon braised collard greens, and caramelized apple-sage syrup
Satsuma Scotch Old Fashioned
Dewar's, Gary Regan's orange bitters #6, Louisiana satsuma, maraschino cherry
Satsuma Upside Down Cake with
Creole cream cheese ice cream and drunken raisins
Blanton's, Bocage honeycomb, hand-grated nutmeg
Her bio states that "Bar Chef Lu Brow has studied with Ted 'Dr. Cocktail' Haigh and Dale DeGroff....She recently underwent an intensive Beverage Alcohol Resource program in New York, for which she was awarded a scholarship by The Museum of the American Cocktail and Tales of the Cocktail." In fact, Haigh was at the bar during our visit, so we were happy to have a chance to meet him as well.
Bar Chef Lu Brow's Crimean Cup a la Marmora was so light-bodied and beautifully balanced that, on its own, it was a perfect introduction to the art of the cocktail. Paired with the Louisiana shrimp and echoing the sweet notes of the butternut puree, the flavors intermingled enticingly. Along with the classic Side Car that accompanied our Blue Crab Souffle, it was one of our two very favorite pairings of the evening.
We love the potential held by pairing solid and liquid cuisines, and salute Cafe Adelaide on the launch of its Bar Chef's Table, which provides New Orleans with a memorably delicious introduction to this cutting-edge gastronomic arena. We'd recommend this restaurant on the strength of its cocktails OR its cuisine; the fact that they're elevating both through conscious pairing (not to mention truly outstanding hospitality) is even more impressive, and makes Cafe Adelaide a new New Orleans must-visit.
Cafe Adelaide & the Swizzle Stick Bar are at the Loews New Orleans Hotel at 300 Poydras Street in New Orleans. (504) 595-3305. Web: www.cafeadelaide.com
Dining with writers Carl Eastlake & Loraine Despres at Cuvee
Novelist Julia Glass is poured a glass of wine at Cuvee
Cuvee's chopped salad one of our favorite versions, ever —
despite, not because of, its whimsical presentation
Cuvee's pumpkin pie soup got two thumbs way up from us for
the sense of humor underlying its deconstructionist ode:
a savory soup with great flavors and (pie crust!) textures
"Bacon and eggs," Cuvee-style: Braised pork belly, gently
scrambled eggs (with the appealing texture of creamy grits),
and truffle oil won raves from Andrew
Cuvee's cheese plate, with 3 cheeses plus accoutrements
Cuvee's wacky-but-delicious foie gras Twinkies....
...are said to be made in authentic Twinkies pans that chef
Bob Iacovone (who also has sommelier training) found online
It's wonderful that the delightfully whimsical Cuvee has such a darkly lit, atmospheric setting — but also a bit of a pity when it comes to trying to capture its delights via camera. While the photos above — all shot without flash (except the last) — don't do proper justice to the restaurant's many delights (from the dishes to our guests), we thought we'd share them anyway.
While chef Bob Iacovone's dishes may be far out in conception and/or presentation, they are deliciously approachable in flavor.
We'd raved about our dinner at Cuvee this past July, and hope it speaks volumes that this is the only restaurant we'd visited then to which we returned this month.
Aside from winning our confirmation as fans, Cuvee also won three new admirers in our wonderful dinner companions, writers Loraine Despres and her husband Carlton Eastlake, as well as National Book Award winner (for Three Junes) Julia Glass.
Cuvee is at 322 Magazine Street in New Orleans. Phone:
(504) 587-9001. Web: www.cuveerestaurant.com
The site of our dinner on Halloween night
Our first In-N-Out burger in two years!
"At In-N-Out Burger, freshness is everything. That's why in a world where food is often chemically processed, prepackaged and frozen, In-N-Out makes everything the old fashioned way."
— From In-N-Out.com
Friday, November 3, 2006 — From New York to New Orleans to Seattle and Vancouver, we're looking forward to spreading the gospel of food and drink pairing this week on our live book tour for WHAT TO DRINK WITH WHAT YOU EAT!
Hope you'll follow along either virtually right here — or, better yet, live and in person at one of our events listed on our News and Events page here.
In-N-Out Burgers are one of our favorite guilty pleasures. We invite you to check out their Web site at www.in-n-out.com, but please type carefully — we've ended up on X-rated sites with the smallest misspellings!
From our email box:
"I can not thank you enough for the
series you guys have written. I can honestly say it's made me a better
cook because of it. I think I use CULINARY ARTISTRY every single day, I
have 2 copies, one for home, so I can use it here, and the other for work. Now that you guys did a pairing book, I don't need to lug around anything else except those two books and my notebook...."