Tag Archives: Food Reviews

New Books: “A Journey Through Wine And Food”

A Journey Through Wine and Food - A Collection of Wine and Food Pairings Jerilyn Zaveral and Carla Anderson January 2020A Journey Through Wine and Food is a total sensory experience with its lifelike photography, stunning presentation of each dish, glimpses into the wineries and their winemakers, histories of the Central Valley wine region, and most of all amazing recipes that will transform everyday meals into priceless celebrations for any occasion! Inspirational quotes can also be found throughout as a reminder that not only do we need food to nourish our bodies, but we need the company of those on our journey to nourish out souls.

From Shrimp Tacos and Rose, to Beef Bourguignon with Burgundy, to Chocolate Cake paired with Port, A Journey Through Wine and Food gives everyone an opportunity to enhance their experience in the kitchen, regardless of skill level, and takes the guess work out of which wines to pair with dinner. It will also take you on a journey through The Central Valley wine regions of California giving you a sneak peek at some of the best wineries in the world, which until now could be considered “hidden gems.”

Jerilyn Zaveral was born and raised in Central California where she continues to live with her husband Joe and their dog, Hogan. Other than a short stay in New York when she wrote her first cookbook and opened her first cafe, her heart and home have always been in the San Joaquin Valley where she enjoys cooking for family and friends and tasting fine wines. She has won several awards in cooking competitions and cook-offs. Most notably her cafe “Z Spice of Life” was recognized as a destination spot in the Hudson Valley Explorer’s Guide. Jerilyn’s love of creating recipes and meals began when she was a very young child in her grandmother’s kitchen. More specifically, it was one afternoon while baking a chocolate cake when her grandmother asked her to get out the mayonnaise…the realization instantly took hold that cooking isn’t always about the end product, but about the journey of discovering unique tastes, textures and combinations of flavors that others might not expect.

To read more or purchase

 

Restaurants: “Dear John’s” In L.A. Serves Up 1940’s Style Experience (Video)

In 1962, Johnny Harlowe made the jump from the silver screen to chef and owner of Dear John’s. Convinced by his pal Frank Sinatra, Johnny opened the iconic spot just a ways down from Sony Studios on Culver Blvd. It became the watering-hole for the Hollywood elite with Sinatra often in the corner playing the piano against the dark brick walls once lined with portraits of famous John’s. Seasoned chefs and entrepreneurs Hans Röckenwagner and Josiah Citrin have teamed up to re-open Dear John’s this April with an updated classic American menu and old-school cocktail list.

https://www.dearjohnsbar.com/

Website: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCnDaAs5_3WXEY_GF3MJ6lyA

Cooking: The New Yorker Top Cookbooks Of 2019

From a New Yorker online article:

2019-Rosner-Best-CookbookWhittling down my favorites to a mere Top Ten was an insurmountable challenge—and there were still so many I didn’t get to, all of them floating in that literary quantum state of potential perfection. (No doubt my favorite book of all is among them, and I’m cursed never to know it.) If this is indeed a time of crisis, I suppose it’s a comfort that at least our kitchens—and, for those of us in skirts, our knees—will be warm. My list is organized alphabetically by author.

 

Ruffage: A Practical Guide to Vegetables,” by Abra Berens

All vegetable cookbooks, as a rule, are wonderful, but too often they blur together into a sort of generic, Wendell Berry-and-dirt-under-the-nails quietude of awe: behold the first pale green of spring, lo the beauty of the humble parsnip, and so on. It’s the voice in “Ruffage” that makes it so marvellous—a sort of sharp, lusty fierceness that one doesn’t normally see applied to beets or celery. Berens writes intimately without being precious, a mode that reflects her recipes: approachable but stunningly lush, gently coaxing out walloping flavors from humble materials.


South: Essential Recipes and New Explorations,” by Sean Brock

This far-reaching compendium decodes the culinary pillars of the entire American South, from the moss-swagged South Carolina Lowcountry to the rolling hills of the Appalachian Piedmont. Shrimp and grits, fried bologna, five types of corn bread—it’s all here. Brock, a celebrated chef, is one of the great practical historians of Southern cuisine, and here he focusses on the whys as much as the whats: we get to know not only his favorite heirloom beans and grains but the soil that feeds them and the people who grow them; we learn not just why it’s worth tracking down certain cultivars of tomato or regional varieties of country ham but the reasons (often tragic) that they’re now so hard to find.


Amá: A Modern Tex-Mex Kitchen,” by Josef Centeno and Betty Hallock

Tex-Mex, as a cuisine, often gets slighted when it comes to serious culinary consideration, but, at Los Angeles’s celebrated restaurants Bar Amá and Amácita, the chef and restaurateur Centeno gives this essential American cuisine the spotlight it deserves. This book is less an accounting of the restaurant’s menu than a tale of Centeno’s coming of age within Tejano culture and learning to find pride in his family history. Stories and recipes from generations past (fiery steak fajitas; a gooey, chorizo-flecked queso asadero) share space with playful remixes of Texan and Tex-Mex classics, like lobster taquitos and carne guisada Frito pie—not to mention nearly an entire chapter dedicated to “Super Nacho Hour.”


Zaitoun: Recipes from the Palestinian Kitchen,” by Yasmin Khan

Khan, a former human-rights campaigner, shifted her job description in 2016 with “The Saffron Tales,” a marvellous compendium of Persian cuisine. In her second volume, she turns her empathetic eye to the kitchens of Palestinians living in Israel and the occupied territories and also abroad. The result is a feast of spiced soups and stews, zingy greens and pulses, and rich sweets scented with rose water and honey. Khan pays particular attention to subtle regional differences, including the chili-and-garlic-filled cuisine of the Gaza Strip, which is rapidly disappearing behind a devastating blockade.

Where Cooking Begins: Uncomplicated Recipes to Make You a Great Cook,” by Carla Lalli Music

Whether in a farmers’ market, a mobile Web interface, or a fluorescent-lit suburban grocery store, Music’s philosophy of food is that it all starts with the act of acquiring it mindfully: buy ingredients often and in small quantities. Her book, full of beautiful photographs and written with a breezy, conversational voice, uses an arsenal of herbaceous, acidic, high-impact recipes to introduce key techniques and ingredient formulas that can turn any shopping trip into a gorgeous meal. Each recipe includes copious twists, spins, and alternatives: an ideal tool kit to transform a timid cook into an adventurous and confident improviser.


The Gaijin Cookbook: Japanese Recipes from a Chef, Father, Eater, and Lifelong Outsider,” by Ivan Orkin and Chris Ying

Orkin, a New York Jew who married a Japanese woman, has Japanese children, and spent years living in Japan, immersed in Japanese culture, has built a formidable career making some of the best ramen in the world. This is one of those rare cookbooks that’s both tremendously insightful and genuinely funny, exploring the various ways that identity, tradition, language, and love work together (or, sometimes, directly against one another) in the home kitchen of a blended family. From a starting point of simple, foundational recipes—rice, eggs, noodles, dashi—he guides the reader into slightly more involved Japanese, Japanese-American, and Japanese-American-Jewish dishes, including recipes ideal for drunken weekends, picky kids, or both.


Tartine: A Classic Revisited,” by Elisabeth Prueitt and Chad Robertson

When the original Tartine cookbook was published, in 2006, it was a near-instant classic: at last, the extraordinary breads, cakes, tarts, and pastries produced at the San Francisco bakery could be made anywhere, so long as a home cook had the equipment (and exacting, patient temperament) to make it happen. Thirteen years later, Tartine has grown from a single storefront to a California empire with multiple locations (plus a few in Seoul), and its industrial ovens are still the gold standard. This book lightly updates fifty-five of the earlier recipes and introduces sixty-eight more, their flavors updated for more modern palates and diets—it includes two dozen gluten-free options—all truly exceptional.


Nothing Fancy: Unfussy Food for Having People Over,” by Alison Roman

There’s something so refreshing about a cookbook that straight-up rejects the idea that cooking always needs to be a special and precious act. Roman’s food is bright and worldly, without a hint of tweezer-y fuss. Her alluringly irreverent thesis, first laid out in her blockbuster début book, “Dining In,” and elaborated upon in this volume (which, despite its dinner-party focus, is full of straightforward recipes with clever twists that work beautifully for everyday meals), stays just this side of the line between empowering and impatient: just make the damn food. Trust the recipe. Have some fun.


Joy of Cooking: 2019 Edition Fully Revised and Updated,” by Irma S. Rombauer, Marion Rombauer Becker, Ethan Becker, John Becker, and Megan Scott

For the past ninety years or so, readers have been blessed with a new edition of “Joy of Cooking” roughly every decade. This version—the result of years of work by John Becker and Megan Scott, the newest generation to be added to the cookbook’s byline—brings the grande dame of the kitchen bookshelf definitively into the now. Becker and Scott retested and updated some four thousand classic “Joy” recipes and added six hundred or so new ones that reflect more current tastes and interests. There’s a whole section on fermenting now, not to mention vegan options, a sous-vide guide, and a dramatically broadened appreciation for international cuisines and ingredients. (For gift-giving, the printed version of “Joy” is a beautiful, massive object. But, for your own use, my advice is to invest in the digital edition: with so many recipes, and so much densely packed information, this is exactly the sort of scenario when an e-book—and its internal search function—is a cook’s best friend.)


Jubilee: Recipes from Two Centuries of African American Cooking,” by Toni Tipton-Martin

Ostensibly a companion to Tipton-Martin’s award-winning “The Jemima Code” (which I listed as one of my favorite food books of the past twenty years), “Jubilee” stands on its own as a wide-ranging, celebratory collection of recipes that trace the black culinary history of America. Rum-spiked fruit fritters, cinnamon-scented sweet-potato biscuits with salty country ham, a broccoli-and-cauliflower salad with a tangy curried dressing—each of the recipes in this extraordinary book has a provenance, whether it’s a classic restaurant, a modern celebrity chef, or the recorded techniques of an enslaved cook. Despite their deep roots, the recipes—even the oldest ones—feel fresh and modern, a testament to the essentiality of African-American gastronomy to all of American cuisine.

To read more: https://www.newyorker.com/culture/2019-in-review/the-best-cookbooks-of-2019

Top Restaurants: Sydney’s “Firedoor” Leads Fiery “Australian BBQ” Trend

From a New York Times online review:

Lennox Hastie Chef of Firedoor Photo by Con Poulos New York Times“Australian barbecue” is not, however, what Lennox Hastie, the chef at Firedoor, would use to describe his own cooking. Nor is it a term that’s been used much by anyone to describe any type of cooking. Here, the word “barbecue” is generally synonymous with the American term “cookout,” and, much like the cookout, it remains an integral part of Australia’s national identity.

Firedoor, which opened in 2015, is a prime example. Wagyu with Onion at Firedoor Photo by Con Poulos New York TimesThe kitchen is powered entirely by wood — there are no electric or gas ovens, burners or microwaves. Mr. Hastie came to this style after working five years at Asador Etxebarri in the Basque Country, where the chef Victor Arguinzoniz cooks local ingredients over fire using multiple types of wood. Mr. Hastie takes a similar approach, but with pointedly Australian ingredients.

One of the restaurant’s most thrilling dishes is a whole marron — a large freshwater crayfish native to Western Australia. The marron is grilled, split open and smothered in sea blite, a coastal plant related to samphire, and sunrise lime, a hybrid citrus created by crossing the native Australian finger lime with a calamondin (itself a cross between a mandarin and a kumquat). There are plenty of smoky, charred meats on the menu as well: pork chops, duck hearts and Wagyu all get their turn on one of the many grills.

To read more: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/05/dining/australian-barbecue.html

European Food Review: Italian Restaurant Movement In Paris Has “Exploded” In Last 3 Years

From a New York Times online article:

Bijou Paris restaurant NY Times“There’s really an Italian movement that has exploded over the last three years,” Mr. Imbroisi said.

Thanks to that explosion, Paris might now be the best city outside of Italy for Italian eating and drinking. With a few Metro tickets, you can journey from Venetian aperitivo culture (Hostaria Urbana), then south to Sicilian home cooking (Pane e Olio), disembarking occasionally at cozy wine bars (Tappo), massive indoor food halls (La Felicità) and new Italian restaurants from French celebrity chefs (for example, Piero TT, by Pierre Gagnaire). Racines Paris restaurant Joann Pai NY TimesIn April, the Right Bank welcomed an outlet of Eataly with a glittery gala, and the Left Bank should soon see a luxury hotel from the Italian JK brand. The marquee attraction will be a restaurant by Miky Grendene, the Italian creator of the exclusive Casa Tua members’ club in Miami.

From experimental aperitivo bars to pizza labs to Michelin-starred bistros, cool Italian establishments are filling the French capital, and Parisians are flocking to them.

To read more: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/04/travel/Italian-food-in-Paris.html

Future Of Eating Out: Chef Eric Rivera’s “Addo: Incubator” Maximizes Tech To Serve Better Food

From a Wired.com online review:

Addo Restaurant Eric RiveraEvery possible step is done online, and for most meals customers must reserve—and often pay—in advance, essentially buying tickets through a service called Tock that’s mostly used only by high-end restaurants. This means no host manning a podium, no reservation or PR teams, no extra staff on a slow night, almost no food waste, and better guest communications. It also allowed them to go from 20 employees to four full-time and three part-time workers.

Within moments of arriving at Seattle’s Addo restaurant, I was handed a Nintendo Switch controller and a can of Georgetown Brewing Company’s Bodhizafa IPA.

While chef Eric Rivera shuttled back and forth to the kitchen to bring out Puerto Rican snacks, Addo’s director of operations Ingrid Lyublinsky took another controller, jumped into a game of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe on a giant projector screen hanging inside the front window, chose Pink Gold Peach, and shot down the track riding a Bone Rattler while someone shouted Pew! Pew! Pew!

To read more: https://www.wired.com/story/eric-rivera/

Trends In Grocery Stores: Brothers Marketplace Is Expanding With Prepared Meals, “Supreme Meats”

From a GroceryDive.com online review:

Brothers MarketplaceThe 12,000-square-foot store is packed with in-store dining options, a scratch bakery, coffee bar and a curated assortment of fresh and local products. An additional 8,000 square feet is dedicated to prep space and a kitchen where employees make prepared foods and from-scratch items using Brothers Marketplace’s own recipes. 

Roche Bros.’ Brothers Marketplace banner opened its newest store in Cambridge, Massachusetts Tuesday. It’s the banner’s fifth location to open since the concept debuted in 2014, and joins other Brothers stores in Cambridge, Duxbury, Medfield, Weston and Waltham, Massachusetts.

A full-service butcher counter allows customers to place special orders, make requests or order preferred cuts. The butcher sells only antibiotic-free and hormone-free meats and poultry, and includes selections like certified Angus Prime Beef as well as pork sourced from Niman Ranch, and Bell and Evans chicken. The counter also offers ready-to-cook options such as marinated meats, kabobs and house-made sausages.

To read more: https://www.grocerydive.com/news/inside-the-store-brothers-marketplace/567372/