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
"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
Bestselling author Laura Day and Bernadette Peters
A large pumpkin turned Martha Stewart jack-o-lantern?
Author Erica Jong, Jeanette Sarkisian Wagner, Karen Page
Attendees receive their choice of THE FLAVOR BIBLE or
WHAT TO DRINK WITH WHAT YOU EAT from Little, Brown
Karen (c.) with Geraldine Ferraro and Donna Zacarro
Roxie X chats with Karen, Donald Tober with Cindy Adams
Barbara Gldsmith, Adm. Susan Blumenthal, and Gael Greene
Los Angeles designer/restaurateur Barbara Lazaroff
Chef Bobby Flay with Karen Page
Gloria Steinem, Isabelle Kirshner, and Karen Page
Honoree Lynda Resnick of Fiji Water / POM
William Morris agent Jennifer Walsh
Saturday, November 22, 2008 — "Let Power Go to Your...Heart." So suggests the motto of Citymeals-on-Wheels' Annual Power Lunch for Women, which celebrated its 22nd anniversary yesterday at The Rainbow Room by raising more than $1.5 million to feed New York's homebound elderly.
Chefs Alex Raij and Eder Montero in Txikito's kitchen
Txikito makes simple ingredients — even beans — shine
Sunday, November 9, 2008 — Congratulations to chefs Alex Raij and Eder Montero on the debut of Txikito (chee-KEE-to; Euskeran for "little"), which we had the pleasure of visiting last night for a few little bites and some sips of a rich and fruity red wine wine cocktail called Zurracapote.
We'd fallen in love with this husband-and-wife team's cuisine at Tia Pol, and look forward to returning to Txikito for another taste of Spain's Basque country very soon.
Txikito is at 240 Ninth Avenue (bet. 24th & 25th Streets), Manhattan. (212) 242-4730. Web: www.txikitonyc.com
Alexandra's Peanut Buttery Bliss
Friday, November 7, 2008 — Free cookies? What's better than that? We just received an email from our friend "Insatiable Critic" Gael Greene about a contest that launches at noon on Monday, November 10th, where the prizes include guess-what:
The ‘Insatiable’ Cookie Chase
What: An online foodie adventure with delicious prizes! Skill and luck are the tools needed to win. Designed for everyone who seeks, lives and savors the good life of taste.
Who: This contest is sponsored and administered by Gael Greene, Insatiable Critic and Alexandra Bruskoff of Alexandra’s Cookie Dreams.
How: Posted on the Alexandra’s Cookie Dreams blog, Talk Is Sweet (www.AlexandrasCookieDreams.com/blog) titled, “Feast Your Eyes On This Life!” an exclusive and amusing interview with Gael Greene, the legendary novelist and restaurant critic, about her life in food. One answer will be missing on the blog posting. For clues leading to the missing answer, participants will be directed to Ms. Greene’s BITE: My Journal on her web site.
Participants then email the response they find to Alexandra@AlexandrasCookieDreams.
All the correct responses will be placed in a lottery and three winners will be selected. Each winner will receive a personalized, autographed copy of INSATIABLE: Tales from a Life of Delicious Excess, and one of three gourmet cookie prizes. Grand Prize: three dozen cookies, 2nd Place: two dozen cookies and 3rd Place: one dozen cookies. The cookies can go to the winner or be sent as a gift to someone else.
When: Contest starts November 10th, 2008 and ends December 10th 2008, winner to be announced December 11th, 2008.
Where: www.AlexandrasCookieDreams.com and www.InsatiableCritic.com
Why: Why not? Who doesn’t love an adventure, free cookie gifts and the delicious details of an adventurous woman’s life?
Murray's isn't just about cheese anymore -- don't miss
Murray's Real Salami, new in Grand Central Market
Check out the gorgeous meats in Murray's meat case
Thursday, November 6, 2008 — We've got a wonderful new neighbor we're thrilled to welcome to the neighborhood: Murray's Real Salami, which just opened in Grand Central Market (in Grand Central Terminal, near Lexington Avenue and 43rd Street).
We've been good customers of Murray's Cheese since their first week in the same location (not to mention since the days Andrew used to cook around the corner from their Greenwich Village location), and are happy to have a wonderful new source for cooked and cured meats just a five-minute walk from our home.
We recently tasted our way through a sampling of Murray's Real Salami's offerings, which we paired with some of Murray's own Parmesan cheese (and a bottle of Lucien Albrecht Pinot Gris we just happened to have on hand -- while we love Murray's for going to the trouble to recommend different wine pairings for its various salumi, we weren't being quite that uptight that particular night). Andrew went crazy for the Knuckle Ham ($18/lb.), whose meat source is listed as "Niman Ranch, Blue Water Pork, Coleman Natural, Heritage Acres." Karen loved the sweet (and garlicky!) Sopressata ($26/lb.) from Salmon Creek Farms, an American interpretation of the Italian classic.
Murray's Real Salami is in Grand Central Market (in Grand Central Terminal, near Lexington Avenue & 43rd Street), Manhattan. (212) 867-7202. Web: http://www.murrayscheese.com/real_salami.asp
JOIN US TONIGHT: Wednesday, November 5, 2008 at 7 pm — We'll be discussing and signing copies of THE FLAVOR BIBLE at Borders Books & Music - Kips Bay (on Second Avenue near 32nd Street) in New York City. You'll enjoy a complimentary taste of Morocco courtesy of Executive Chef Lahcen Ksiyer of our favorite Moroccan-inspired restaurant in Manhattan: Casaville (on Second Avenue near 35th Street). See you there!
Andrew w/Daniel holding THE FLAVOR BIBLE
A cauldron of steaming pumpkins....OK, they're on dry ice!
The always-glam Georgette Farkas is hauntingly gorgeous
Chef David Burke as The Joker, with Wonder Woman
"Tom Colicchio," "Rocco DiSpirito," "Emeril Lagasse," "Daniel
Boulud," and "Charlie Trotter" make guest appearances
The kitchen at Daniel can even carve a mean jack-o-lantern!
Andrew w/radio host Frank DeCaro & eGullet's Steven Shaw
"Sarah Palin" and "Barack Obama" watch as Drew Nieporent
greets Daniel Boulud
Josh Ozersky of Citysearch with Catwoman: Trick or treat?
Andrew with Cynthia & Jeff Penney (of Merrill Lynch), and
mezzo-soprano Deborah Domanski & author Michael Gelb
Signature cocktail w/ oxymoronic spherical spider ice cubes
Daniel proving that the aforementioned ice cubes are bite-
sized (Is that "Top Chef" winner Hung Huynh behind him?
Dancer Jody Oberfelder told us she met Hung there!)
Le Du's Wines' Jean-Luc Le Du, with Terrance Brennan mask
Karen & Andrew with Alan Jones (of Morgan Stanley) &
Ashley Garrett (as featured in the 11/29 Family Circle)
Talented photographer Thomas Schauer
Andrew & Karen & Daniel with Adam Perry Lang & friends
Little, Brown's Heather Fain chats with editor Michael Sand
Daniel with ABC's Mark Robertson and chef David Waltuck
Andrew chats with two members of Daniel's kitchen team
That's Daniel chef Jean-Francois Bruel, 2nd from left
Cheers to Daniel Boulud!
Saturday, November 1, 2008 — Yesterday was the definition of a "Red Letter Day." After all, it's not every day that one of the world's greatest chefs serves up a party to celebrate your latest book in the "spooky" lower-level prep kitchen of his four-star restaurant for the chefs featured in the book, members of the media, and "some of his friends." And when that book is THE FLAVOR BIBLE and that chef is as insanely popular and well-loved as Daniel Boulud, a wildly delicious adventure is bound to ensue....
Our thanks to all of the New York-based experts who shared their wisdom with us in the pages of THE FLAVOR BIBLE, who were with us on Friday night either in person or in spirit, including: Mike Anthony of Gramercy Tavern, mixologist Jerri Banks, Dan Barber of Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Andrew Carmellini, Gina DePalma, Odette Fada of San Domenico, Brad Farmerie of Double Crown and Public, Daniel Humm of Eleven Madison Park, Johnny Iuzzini of Jean Georges, Gabriel Kreuther of The Modern, Michael Laiskonis of Le Bernardin, Tony Liu of Morandi, Michael Lomonaco of Porter House New York, Max McCalman of Artisanal and Picholine, Adrian Murcia of Chanterelle, Maricel Presilla of Cucharamama and Zafra, Alexandra Raij, Eric Ripert of Le Bernardin, Bradford Thompson of Lever House, and David Waltuck of Chanterelle.
From our emailbox:
WHAT TO DRINK WITH WHAT YOU EAT is
"prominently displayed walking into Domaine Chandon"
Our friends Susan and Dave Mabe are vacationing in California wine country this weekend, and sent us the photo above along with a couple of notes from their BlackBerry, "We have seen your book WHAT TO DRINK WITH WHAT YOU EAT at Rubicon and Domaine Chandon among their gift offerings...for sale in their gift shops. Rubicon has it on a gorgeous wood table...all in an elegant chateau. At Domaine Chandon, it is on a table where everyone has to walk through to the tasting rooms. You are front and center."
Thursday, October 30, 2008 — Today's YouTube video count: 586. Thanks! And if you're looking for ways to turn tricky foods with wines into delicious treats, please check out our column in yesterday's Washington Post:
"Loud" flavors — hot, spicy and/or acidic — can be tricky to pair with wine. There's no faster way to obliterate the nuances of a wine than to serve it with a dish whose flavors will jump out and make those subtleties disappear.
Still, there's no reason to let such potential peril spook you. Here are some guidelines to make the matches work.
The palate falsely perceives the sharpness of piquancy as "hot," so it's natural to seek cooling relief. As a rule, avoid wines that are high in alcohol, oak and tannin, which can either clash or just fan the flames. For the best pairing, consider the specific ingredient:
Fresh chili peppers: As a general rule, the fresh vegetal flavors of chilies are a better match with white wines than with reds. With dishes featuring jalapeños, New World sauvignon blancs tend to pair best; both herbaceous and grapefruit-driven styles are useful in pairing with similarly flavored dishes. When fresh chilies are served as part of Thai curries, which often feature sweet coconut milk and spicy ginger, we prefer off-dry, spicy and aromatic whites, most often Riesling.
Dried chili peppers: Their smoky earthiness tends to go better with red wines. The combination of red wine and scallops may seem frightening, but that proved to be one of our favorite pairings of the year when we visited Janos Restaurant in Tucson in March. Chef-owner Janos Wilder matched seared diver sea scallops with Spanish chorizo, chipotle Muscat sauce and candied orange zest with a fruity Spanish red: a pinot noir-like 2005 Las Rocas de San Alejandro El Renegado Garnacha ($10 at MacArthur Beverages). With its own hint of smoke, it perfectly mirrored the smoky notes of the dish.
Brian Cook, wine director at Redwood in Bethesda, serves a fruity wine with the restaurant's mildly spicy braised short-rib chili seasoned with ancho chilies. Among the possibilities are a pinot noir, such as Serenity Pinor Noir from California's Central Coast, and a fuller-bodied shiraz with mild tannins, such as Cat Amongst the Pigeons Nine Lives Shiraz from Australia's Barossa Valley.
Horseradish: The choice depends on the dish, of course, but we lean toward bubbles. A non-vintage champagne or rosé champagne will help cleanse the palate. Other high-acid wines work well, too, and with a horseradish-based shrimp cocktail, we've had the best luck pairing with New Zealand sauvignon blanc. If you're the one cooking, add cream to horseradish to make it more wine-friendly. We love the combination of a rare steak with horseradish cream sauce and a fruity, low-tannin merlot.
Hot mustard: This condiment is not only hot but acidic, so make sure the wine has its own acidity to stand up to the food. Mustard is a natural with sausages: With white-meat sausages think white wine (Riesling or unoaked chardonnay); with red-meat sausages think fruity reds (such as Beaujolais, pinot noir or zinfandel).
Wasabi: Because William Washington, manager of Blue Duck Tavern in the West End, likes to pair to a dish's region of origin, foods with fiery wasabi notes lead him to Japanese rice wine. His first thought when pairing wasabi-accented sushi, or even a miso-and-wasabi-crusted piece of salmon, is sake.
Although we love sake at least as much as the next oenophile, rosé champagne is another delicious way to go with that wasabi-crusted salmon. A pinot noir-based sparkler will complement the fish, and the bubbles will help cleanse the palate of the wasabi's bite.
When the perceived heat on the palate is the result of actual spiciness -- as in Indian cuisine, for example -- remember that the root of the word "Gewuerztraminer" is "spice." Indeed, the fruitiness, spice and hint of sweetness in Gewuerztraminer and similar varietals such as off-dry Riesling play beautifully against the spice of aromatic Indian dishes. We'd steer red wine lovers toward a fruity zinfandel.
Dishes high in acidity, whether from citrus or vinegar, can be overpowering. So remember the maxim "acid loves acid," and pair high-acid foods with high-acid wines. For example, we've enjoyed seviche with a virtual around-the-world tour of high-acid whites, from champagne to New Zealand sauvignon blanc to Trocken Riesling to Spanish albariño.
Every one of those matches was, if you'll pardon the Halloween pun, bewitching.
Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page, authors of "The Flavor Bible" and "What to Drink With What You Eat," can be reached through their Web site, http://www.becomingachef.com, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Their Pairings column appears the last Wednesday of the month.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008 — It's been interesting to see word get out about our YouTube video for THE FLAVOR BIBLE: On Friday morning, it had 71 views. By the end of the day, it had 305. It hit 400 views on Sunday, and 500 views yesterday. Thanks for helping to "spread the gospel"....
"Fantastic! 21st Century! Karen, wear that blue again and again! I'll send to others...Good job!"
"Cool YouTube book trailer — it looks great, and appears destined to be another best-selling kitchen must-have!"
"It's a great piece! Well done. I want to turn off my computer, and find a pumpkin and bay leaves right now."
Go placidly amid the noise and the haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible, without surrender,
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly, and listen to others,
even to the dull and ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons;
they are vexatious to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain or bitter,
for always there will be
greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career
it is a real possession in the
changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs,
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you
to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals,
and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Especially do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love,
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment,
it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit
to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore, be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be.
And whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life,
keep peace in your soul.
With all its sham,
drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Strive to be happy.
by Max Ehrmann
A poster featuring "Desiderata" hung on the wall of Karen's bedroom as a teen, but she hadn't thought of it in years until today fragments ("If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter....") entered her mind.
Living in a city like New York, it's all too easy to feel dwarfed by others' level of accomplishment and financial wealth, even during the current downturn. But then we remember that there are neighbors in need all around us.
It's been especially heartbreaking to hear how far donations to one of our favorite charities — Citymeals-on-Wheels — have fallen this year (as Wall Street firms were among its leading donors), necessitating cutbacks in the number of meals it's able to deliver to the homebound elderly.
Virtually everyone has been affected by the current economy — but if you're still able to share a little with others even less fortunate, we hope you'll consider making a much-needed contribution to Citymeals.
Thursday, October 23, 2008 — Welcome to our YouTube debut! We hope you'll take a moment to check out our brand-new video for THE FLAVOR BIBLE here.
Our thanks to everyone who contributed to the creation of this video, including everyone at Little, Brown (and especially Carolyn O'Keefe), TurnHere producer Kelly Duane and videographer Chris Cassidy, and our amazingly photogenic and passionate readers: West Bank Cafe chef Joe Marcus, Forge pastry chef Jenny McCoy and dancer/choreographer Jody Oberfelder (with a special thank-you to aspiring chef Jasper Oberfelder-Riehm).
The gorgeous photography is the work of THE FLAVOR BIBLE's photographer Barry Salzman, while the gorgeous location is the state-of-the-art kitchen at the Maison des Relais & Chateaux, at 10 East 53rd Street (bet. Madison and Fifth Avenues) in Manhattan.
We had a signing yesterday at the Hastings Farmers Market
Our signing table, overlooking the scenic Hudson River
Entries in the Market's annual Apple Pie Contest
After our judging duties were over, we had the pleasure of
strolling the market...
...to the backdrop of wonderful live music
We even got to meet the woman responsible for the
edible flowers in a photo on p. 257 of THE FLAVOR
Nancy MacNamara of Honey Locust Farm House, who
here with Andrew holding the book
At Dines Farms' stand, we asked Nellie Doyle about her
favorite mushrooms, and were a little surprised when she
chose the mild buttons.
"I'm Irish!" she joked.
Thanks to a tip from Pascale, Andrew brought a knife bag full
of knives to have sharpened by Matt Westall, whose motto is
"Where There's Never...A Dull Moment" He asked where this
photo would be published, and we teased, "Playgirl — is
problem?" Apparently not, since he then good-naturedly
mugged for our camera.
Looking sharp, Matt!
"People are craving community and turning to Facebook, while we've created the real thing right here at the Hastings Farmers Market."
—Pascale Le Draoulec, director, Hastings Farmers Market
Sunday, October 19, 2008 — We logged a lot of mileage yesterday without even leaving the state: Yesterday morning, we took the train to Hastings-on-Hudson for a book signing and discussion at the Hastings Farmers Market, which has been turned into a destination by the multi-talented Pascale LeDraoulec, the award-winning restaurant critic and American Pie author who now channels her passion for food into using it to create community. (Any farmers market whose motto is "The Most Fun You'll Ever Have In a Parking Lot" is our kind of market!)
Talk about "Life of Pi(e)": After our signing, we also served a hurried stint on the judging panel (with Andre, a seasoned publishing executive and apple pie judge who also cooks up a mean vegetable curry!) for the Market's annual Apple Pie Contest, slicing, tasting, evaluating and discussing 19 pies in less than an hour.
Then last night we made our way to Park Slope for the 50th birthday celebration of a dear friend for nearly half those years. While it proved to be a wonderful opportunity to reconnect with some mutual friends, we also learned that our friend's oldest daughter — whom we've known since her birth — was just accepted into a PhD program in neuroscience, which made us feel ancient!
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