Tag Archives: food news

Two Boots Pizza Party

Two Boots 25th Anniversary

Last Thursday night, Two Boots Pizza celebrated 25 years in New York with a huge pizza party and free Summer Stage concert on the East River promenade. Their pizza, a mash-up of New Orleans flavors and Italian thin crust (thus the “two boots”) has always been a favorite of mine. It may be hard to imagine now, but as recently as the early ’90s in New York no one distinguished between Neapolitan or Roman pizza or talked about “cracker-like crust.” There was just pizza. You had Ray’s, John’s, Patsy’s, Lombardi’s and your neighborhood slice joint, and they all served the same sort of pizza with varying degrees of quality and cheapness.  (more…)

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What to Eat at the 2012 US Open

Major sporting events aren’t exactly known for their food, but the team behind the US Open is trying to change all that. This year they’ve brought in Iron Chef Masaharu Morimito and celebrity chefs David Burke and Tony Mantuano to create menus for several restaurants in the massive USTA center. Think butter-poached lobster, Montauk striped bass and steak, not the stadium standard of nachos smothered in Cheez Whiz. At a tasting yesterday, we got a sneak preview of several of the dishes on offer. The food here should be reason enough to carve out some time during your US Open trip for a nice meal, courtside.


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The Great Googa Mooga: A Blow by Blow Account

I headed to the Great Googa Mooga this weekend with the intention of live tweeting and Instagramming every second of it. This was going to be fun! A huge food and wine festival in Prospect Park, the likes of which New York had never seen before. What could go wrong?  (more…)

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Gastronomie 491

One of the things I miss most about Milan and Paris is not, as you might expect, fancy restaurants. What I do miss are the numerous coffee counters in Milan when you could just step in and get an excellent-quality espresso or macchiato for a couple of euros and down it in an instant. In Paris, I miss the gourmet take-out shops right near the Saint Paul metro stop: Aux Désirs de Manon for bread and quiche, Au Sanglier for beautiful terrines, and Pascal Trotté for cheese. There was never any reason to cook anything, even though I had a kitchen there, when there was so much tempting food to take home.

Cheese Counter 2, Gastronomie 491

Finally New York is catching up to Europe with the introduction of Gastronomie 491 to the Upper West Side. This little shop has all kinds of salads, meat, fish and sides you might like for a home cooked meal – if you actually felt like cooking. But why bother when chef Steven Gutterman can do it for you, most likely with much better results?


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Last-Minute Foodie Gift Guide

There are various types of foodies, but certain gifts will be appreciated by all, whether they use their kitchens for massive baking projects or just as a place to mix cocktails. In the food world as in the tech and fashion worlds, there are certain It things to have every year, and the latest must-haves are always changing.

Here’s a round up of some of the best food gifts, classic and trendy, for 2010 – all available to be purchased at the last minute. (more…)

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On-Island Vs. Off-Island: Keeping It Local on Martha’s Vineyard

One look inside the market at Morning Glory Farm in Edgartown, Martha’s Vineyard and you’ll see the crux of a food movement gaining ground here. Beets, baby squash, wax beans, corn and many more vegetables and fruit that come from this large working farm are labeled with a yellow “on-island” sign; anything shipped in from “off-island” gets a generic-looking white sign.

Wax Beans, Morning Glory Farm

The local, sustainable food movement is nothing new, but on this vacation destination off the Cape it takes on a particularly political spin. As chain stores like the Super Stop & Shop on Main Street land on the island and suck in summer people and locals alike, farmers markets and local specialty food shops have lobbied to keep money on-island, not moving offshore towards some far-flung corporate entity. But can even the most well-intentioned consumer ever buy mostly local? (more…)

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This Is Why You Have High Blood Pressure

The battle against salt has been portrayed by the city and the media as a strike against the fast food and processed foods industry, and by extension, legislation to protect the poor. But before you think you’re not affected because you don’t subsist on Cheez-Its, consider what you eat, especially if you follow food blogs like this one. Just because something is freshly-made and preservative-free doesn’t mean it’s good for you; in fact, food at restaurants and upscale take-out shops can be nearly as high in salt as that McDonald’s fare. What’s the secret ingredient in that delicious ramen soup? That succulent barbecue? That sandwich by Tom Colicchio? That smoky pork taco? You guessed it.


I learned the hard way that no one is exempt from the “salt = bad” rule this spring when I found this spring out I have the beginnings of hypertension. Even though I exercise regularly and avoid processed and fast food, I was relying on calorie counts and a general knowledge of nutrition to find the “healthy” stuff on the menu whenever I ate out, which was most of the time. But chefs tend to be heavy-handed with the salt. After all, it’s not their job to monitor your blood pressure, it’s just their job to keep you coming back for more. And it often takes salt to make food taste good. (more…)

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Zoku Quick Pop Maker

Greenmarkets and grocery stores are full of tempting fruit at this time of year, but the cherries, berries and peaches can look so appetizing that you buy more than you need. A recent piece in Food and Wine on chefs’ thriftiness intersects nicely with a new invention available at Williams Sonoma. Chef Matthew Accarrino of SPQR in San Francisco makes cocktails with bruised fruit, but you could forgo the effort in favor of this Zoku Quick Pop Maker. In seven minutes it freezes whatever fruit concoction you throw in there. Strawberries and sweetened cream would make a particularly appetizing creation.


Zoku Quick Pop Maker, $49.95 at Williams Sonoma.

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The Sushi Concierge

You may know not to douse your rice with soy sauce or order rolls made with cream cheese, but how much do you really know about sushi? Trevor Corson, author the bestselling book The Secret Life of Lobsters and The Story of Sushi, hosts weekly dinners at Jewel Bako in New York and Zentan in D.C., where he takes on the mantle of the Sushi Concierge, your personal guide to sushi etiquette and history.

Trevor Corson, the Sushi Concierge

Before you sharpen those chopsticks (a sushi bar no-no, by the way), settle down and have a sushi meal as it would have been eaten by a Japanese connoisseur 70 or 80 years ago. What’s not on the throwback menu may surprise you: no tuna, no hamachi, no yellowtail and no unagi, and the only salmon is Tanzanian king salmon from New Zealand. (more…)

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Someone’s in the Kitchen With Dona

In today’s Times, Donatella Arpaia announces the launch of her new restaurant, a Neapolitan-style pizza place in Chelsea, named – wait for it – Donatella. Here she assumes the title of executive chef, since as she puts it “the menu is developed, written and tested by me.”

Polpette con Salsa di Pomodoro, Mia Dona

But anyone who heard the P.R. around the relaunch of Mia Dona will find this party line familiar – and tricky to prove. On the Mia Dona website, a section on the cuisine states “Dona wrote the menu, and she, her mother and her aunts trained the kitchen cooks themselves.” Sit down for a meal here, however, and you will find distinct notes of Michael Psilakis in the fish dishes with capers and olives. There were also changes to family recipes, most notably the famous meatballs, as can be expected when you take grandma’s recipes and give them to a “kitchen cook” who was previously a sous-chef at Union Square Cafe, Jarett Appell. Appell is currently training in Italy, and according to one source, will be going on to the kitchen at Donatella when he returns. (more…)

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Gas Wine Preserver

It’s hard to impress a wine snob, but there is one new product that’s winning over even the most discerning oenophiles. Wine preservation spray, like this Private Preserve spray from Wine Enthusiast, keeps wine from oxidizing by putting a layer of inert gas between wine and the air. You just squirt this harmless mixture of nitrogen, carbon dioxide and argon into an opened bottle of wine, put the cork back on, and even an old, delicate wine will last for days.


First seen at a wine snob’s house in Baltimore and now spotted at wine bars like The Bodega in Bushwick, gas wine preserver is available online at Wine Enthusiast or at specialty wine shops like Astor Wines. Each can lasts for about 120 uses. That’s a lot of wine you could be drinking instead of wasting.

Wine Enthusiast Private Preserve Wine Preservation Spray, $11.95 on wineenthusiast.com.

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Everything Bagel Spice

There aren’t a lot of good bagels in Paris. A shop in St. Germain sells them, but the shop doesn’t open until about 12pm or thereabouts, and the food item in question is spelled “beggel” on the sign outside. If only I had smuggled this into the country. Behold Bagel Spice, discovered by Urban Daddy, available online now for $4.99. Some culinary genius has taken all the zingy taste of an everything bagel – garlic, onion, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, salt, and, well, everything – and bottled it.


Imagine the wondrous things you could do with this! The Bagel Spice site suggests using it on top of eggs, but the possibilities are endless. Think of grilled meat or shrimp kebabs rolled in everything bagel spices, for instance, instead of plain old sesame seeds. You could use everything bagel spice on the rim of a Bloody Mary glass. Or a brilliant Passover solution – matzoh bread with cream cheese sprinkled with everything bagel spice.

It’s enough almost make you give up the original everything bagel – almost.

Bagel Spice ($4.99), available online

Urban Daddy: Spice World

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Live Crawfish Delivered

This Louisiana specialty used to be hard to come by, but thanks to the wonders of FedEx and one dedicated Louisiana family, live crawfish are now just a click away. The Louisiana Crawfish Co. ships bags of live crawfish around the country–you can either get it FedExed or pick up your crawdads at the airport. This is essentially how fish mongers are getting them anyway, and Louisiana Crawfish Co.’s prices are about 2.5 times the wholesale value of $2 a pound (scaled for volume, so you might as well buy more)–not bad in non-Southern cities where many fish mongers inflate the price of crawfish to 5 times the wholesale value.

Picture 10

The crawfish season only runs through May, so start planning that crawfish boil now. Here’s how to do it.

Bonus: Louisiana Crawfish Co. also sells turduckens.

Louisiana Crawfish Co. 888-522-7292

Urban Daddy: Live Crawfish from the Louisiana Crawfish Company

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Alice Waters, Influential Chef and…DJ?

She’s not just a proponent of fresh, organic food for all, she’s also a Radiohead fan. Who knew?


It’s definitely worth listening to Alice Waters’ guest DJ set on KCRW, if only to be hypnotized by her surprisingly sexy voice intoning, over Nina Simone’s “I Want a Little Sugar in my Bowl”:

It’s a beautiful sensual song, and I am always trying to get people to open up and to touch and to taste and to smell and really engage in a different way with food…. I play it when I’m cooking in the kitchen and it’s so beautiful and so deep in its sensual appeal.

Put out the fire! Other highlights: bribing a taxi driver with dinner at Chez Panisse, dancing in the kitchen to David Byrne, going to a peace march in Berkeley, and other zany facts you never knew about her.

KCRW: Alice Waters – Guest DJ Project

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Gift Guide: What to Buy a Foodie

Anyone whose extra-curricular interest borders on unhinged obsession is hard to shop for, whether that interest is golf, video games or Louboutins. Food lovers are no exception. First, divide them into three groups: the cooks, the eaters who who wish they cooked more, and the eaters who don’t cook. (Plus a  splinter group: the wine lovers, a.k.a. the “winos.”)


As a rule, you are better off shopping at specialty stores for anyone with a specific interest, i.e., just as you probably shouldn’t shop for high-tech golf clothes at Macy’s, you’re better off going into Sur La Table and asking  what’s new and cool than getting another fondue set from Crate & Barrel. (I have three of them.) Here’s a full list of gift ideas for foodies, starting at $5.50, after the jump. (more…)

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