Don't get mad, get even

And you were worried about folk spitting in the tea?

Kansans do it dirty.  A couple recently was arrested and charged with poisoning the salsa at the restaurants where they worked. Thirty-six people, among them kids and seniors, got sick after eating the salsa laced with the Methomyl-based pesticide.

These folk don't get mad, they get even.

The lesson here? Don't piss off your server.

The French Laundry offers BMW concierge service

Yountville, CA  – Chef Thomas Keller today announced a partnership with BMW of North America, creating a concierge service at his acclaimed restaurant, The French Laundry, featuring the BMW ActiveHybrid 7. 

The partnership announcement was made from the BMW Championship at Cog Hill Golf & Country Club in Lemont, IL.  Chef Keller was a guest at the tournament, played yesterday in the BMW Championship Pro-Am Tournament, which pairs 70 of the world’s top professional golfers with amateurs.

To celebrate partnership, Keller crafted a seasonal, BMW-inspired recipe for The French Laundry dinner menu the evening of the announcement. The dish is Four Story Hill Farm Apple Fed Pork Loin with Bratwurst, Braised Red Cabbage, Apple Dumplings and Grain Mustard Sauce.

Keller and his staff were inspired by BMW’s Bavarian roots and wanted to create a delicious dish reminiscent of the foods from this area.

 “As a BMW owner for more than 32 years, I’ve always appreciated the brand’s attention to precision and detail because my very first vehicle was a BMW 320i,” said Keller.  “At The French Laundry, we’re always seeking out ways to heighten our guests’ experience."

The new BMW concierge service at The French Laundry will be offered to restaurant guests on a limited basis as available.

“The number one hobby and interest of BMW customers is fine dining, which makes a partnership with Thomas Keller and The French Laundry a natural fit,” said Tom Kowaleski, Vice President Corporate Communications, BMW of North America.

Alleged: Canine tooth in Chinese food at NYC restaurant

We've all heard the urban legends about Chinese restaurants using pets as ingredients.  And only the truly gullible believe them.

But, Grub Street reports at least at one NYC Chinese restaurant is facing allegations.

“I thought it was my tooth at first, and then I realized that it definitely was not mine,” Holliday says. “I was confused as to what it was because it definitely did not look human, so I brought the tooth to my dentist. He told me that it was a canine’s tooth,” she admits. “I was shocked,” she says.

Local Claims Canine Tooth In Chinese Food [Wave]


Desperately seeking food trucks

I made my own - but now I have Super Taqueria! One of the things I so desperately miss about living in Brooklyn are food trucks. Simple, fresh food trucks.

Sure, I love the gourmet wagons.  What's not to love about Van Leeuwen's artisanal ice cream or Wafels& Dinges - except the cost? 

But what I really miss are the ladies who roll their carts loaded with hot homemade tamales. And the taco trucks.
Since Durham's Latino population is larger than the state percentage by double, you wouldn't think I'd have trouble finding my comida.

Okay, I'm slow. I like to take my time about stuff - at least some stuff.

So, after driving past Super Taqueria (2842 N Roxboro St, Durham, NC 27704) about a bazillion times this past year, I finally stopped in. Good things are definitely worth the wait.

One word: fresh. Make that two words: flavorful. Did I mention cheap eats?

Get the tacos de pastor and have fun with the salsa bar (although it reminds me of oddly enough of a 70s salad bar - not its offerings, just the set-up).

For those who enjoy a venture into the brave unknown, there are tacos stuffed with variety meats - lengua (tongue) and tripa (tripe).

Luca Boniciolli transports il Buco to the French Alps

Savoyard style chalets

Experience a ski adventure in Courchevel, France as il Buco Restaurant in New York City teams with Europe's premier private ski guide Luca Boniciolli, to offer travelers a week of skiing within Les Trois Vallées (The Three Valley's) of the French Alps.

Guests reside in luxurious accommodations and indulge in meals created by il Buco's renowned Chef, Ignacio Mattos, paired with the wine selections of Wine Director Paul Lang.

Boniciolli brings his tremendous lifetime experience in skiing, heli-skiing, mountaineering and worldwide travel to his Europe-based organization, specializing in winter excursions on the majestic slopes of the French Alps.

With a knack for tending to the personal needs of his clients, Boniciolli offers custom-crafted ski adventures. He often teams up with Michelin-rated Chefs to create an unforgettable experience in a private luxury chalet on the most highly regarded and glamorous mountain in the world, Courchevel 1850 (named for its height in meters).

Now in Winter 2010, Boniciolli and il Buco offer a weeklong stay in a luxury chalet complemented by privately guided skiing.

Mattos' rustic cuisine perfectly complements the enchanting experience of chalet life in the Alps. Every meal is personalized using the freshest ingredients to recreate the simple, flavorful elegance enjoyed at il Buco in NYC. In-house cooking lessons and wine tastings will be available.

This is not a pre-packaged tour, nor are you obligated to ski at all. Everyday is a new and personalized experience. Chef Mattos can cook your favorite breakfast while you wake up with morning yoga. Then you might opt for a day off the slopes, shopping in the bustling village of Courchevel and come home to a light snack and afternoon wine tasting with Lang.

Or you might choose to have a late morning ski with Boniciolli and lunch in a Michelin star restaurant tucked away on the slopes.

Les Trois Vallées is located in the Savoie region of the French Alps and is the largest linked ski area in the world: a labyrinth of immaculate slopes amidst breathtaking scenery, with some of the world's finest ski runs connected by an intricate system of lifts. It is perfect for beginners and seasoned skiers alike.

The selected Savoyard style chalets are some of the largest and best Courchevel has to offer. It is possible to literally ski out the door and begin an adventure. The chalets accommodate up to 10 people per stay.

This full service hassle-free way of traveling offers all of the accommodations of a 5-star luxury hotel but in the privacy of your own "home".

All travel from arrival to departure is pre-arranged for your convenience. For more information, email [email protected] or visit this address

Pasta Sfoglia: a pasta primer from acclaimed Nantucket & NYC restaurants

224 pages of tender and tasty pasta PASTA sfoglia

Ron Suhanosky, Colleen Marnell-Suhanosky

with Susan Simon

Wiley, Hardcover

224 pages

September 2009


Sfoglia, Italian for an uncut sheet of pasta, is an apt name for the Nantucket and New York City restaurants of chefs Ron and Collen Suhanosky.

With their Renaissance-inspired menus featuring sweet and savory flavored sauces enrobing egg-rich pastas, the acclaimed restaurants have earned their place in the hearts and stomachs of their clientele.

Even former NY Times food critic, Frank Bruni, whose reviews were renowned for their pungency, was mellowed by a meal at Sfoglia NYC. 

Bruni wrote:

A dish of pasta this fantastic, its sauce of cream and vin santo applied with restraint and leavened cunningly by shredded carrot, convinces a person that whatever path led him to it should be embraced more often. In this case the impulse to enjoy an unhurried midday meal had taken me there. That, and the very lucky decision to enjoy that meal at Sfoglia.

Now after a decade and more of mastering their craft, the Suhanoskys have developed a cookbook. With 111 recipes - including the Fusilli, Guanciale, Carrots, Vin Santo and Cream that Bruni admired in his 2007 review - PASTA sfoglia gives guidance to the home cook.  

Master recipes for fresh egg pasta, gnocchi, crespelle (thin Italian crepes), and brodo (a hybrid cross between stock and broth) are the foundation of this beautifully staged cookbook. Included also are recipes for ingredients Sfoglia pasta dishes rely upon: Limoncello, a lemon infused liqueur made in nearly every seaside Italy village, preserved lemons, and goat's milk cheese.

The two-page section detailing how to roll and cut pasta for various shapes is as precise as can be, but suffers from a lack of illustration.  I would have liked to see the process through the lens of food photographer Ben Fink, whose gorgeously styled photographs tell the unwritten story throughout this cookbook.

A shared passion for the Italian cooking of their youths is evident in PASTA sfoglia.  One of the sublime pleasures of this cookbook is reading the personal notes, the intimate experiences, of the couple's food journey.  The reader gets a glimpse of big family dinners and working stages in Italian kitchens as well as insights about a centuries old cuisine and way of eating that is as much an art as it is a lifestyle. 

Each recipe is prefaced by a short passage, which is one part inspiration and technique, one part memoir, that provides readers with the hidden nature of how the recipe evolved.  In the recipe, Ricotta, Prunes, Walnuts, Fazzoletti, and Valpolicella Sauce, the couple tells us the filling for these plump fazzoletti - literally handkerchiefs - were the Valpolicella wine-soaked prunes dipped in chocolate they ate while traveling in Verona.

Organized in six sections - master recipes, fresh pasta, dry pasta, filled pasta, gnocchi and grains, which the Suhanoskys consider as "cousins of the more traditional pastas" - the cookbook builds on the basics. Ron Suhanosky, who says he dreams about pasta, simplifies the process of making fresh pasta by using a food processor to blend the dough and an electric pasta maker to roll out the sheets of dough.  "Fresh pasta is something special, but something not just for special occasions'," he writes in urging home cooks Niente paura or Have no fear.

The authors provide an extensive and detailed list of resources for necessary specialty products as well.

What makes this cookbook indispensable is its wide range of pastas and sauces as well as its insider tips for creating memorable meals. The book takes the terror out of making fresh pasta and details inventive ways of using ingredients in sauces, which for the time-pressed may be combined with either store-bought fresh or dry pastas.

Condensed from PASTA sfoglia

Serves 4 – 6


My original idea was to make a carrot salad with guanciale. Then I thought about pasta – just because pasta is always the first thing I want to eat. This recipe is kind of a spin off of carbonara because of the crispy guanciale and creamy sauce.

1 tablespoon grape seed oil
1/2 pound diced guanciale (see resources)
3 medium-large carrots, peeled and finely shredded, yield approximately 2 cups
1/2 cup vin santo or Malvasia
1 pound good quality fusilli
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Grated Parmesan cheese for serving

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the grape seed oil and guanciale to a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Cook until the guanciale has rendered it fat,is deep gold and crispy, 6 – 8 minutes. Remove from the heat. Pour off all but 1/4 cup of the fat.

Return the skillet to medium-high heat. Add the carrots and cook until they have wilted, 2 – 3 minutes. Add the vin santo and reduce to 1/4 cup.

Add the fusilli to the boiling water and cook according to the package directions.

Add the heavy cream to the skillet and reduce by half, about 10-12 minutes.

Add 1/2 cup pasta water to the sauce. Use a wire mesh skimmer to remove the pasta 2 minutes before cooking is complete and place it directly into the skillet. Toss to thoroughly coat the pasta and cook for the remaining 2 minutes.

Serve immediately with grated Parmesan cheese.

Top Paris pastry chef opens Nutella patissierie

Nutella is my secret vice

I am of a certain age, which here means that I can remember a time that Nutella was sadly NOT available in US groceries.

I remember stashing jars of the chocolatey, nutty goodness in my suitcase to hold me until my next trip over the pond.

Thank goodness this indignity has been rectified, although I still think the European product far superior to what we mere Nutella newbies get stateside. And technically, US Nutella is manufactured in Canada.

For those of you fortunate enough to find yourselves in Paris, My Little Paris, the insider's guide to La Ville-Lumière or the City of Lights, suggests La pâtisserie des rêves (93 rue du Bac, 7th Metro Rue du Bac or Sèvres Babylone tel : 00 33 1 42 84 00 82) where pastry chef Phillippe Conticini creates the recipes in his cookbook,Sensations Nutella dedicated exclusively to the jar of chocolately, nutty deliciousness.

We can't think of anything more divine.

il Buco celebrates all things pig with Sagra del Maiale, Festival of the Pig

Infiernito-cooked pig & Chef Mattos (center)

il Buco restaurant celebrates its 15th anniversary on Sunday, September 20, 2009, during its sixth annual Sagra del Maiale (Festival of the Pig).

The event, an outdoor pig and apple festival marks the Autumnal Equinox (when day and night are of equal length).

The celebration will take place outside il Buco on Bond Street between Lafayette and Bowery from 1:00 - 8:00pm. Chef Ignacio Mattos and staff will rise before the sun and start a bonfire on Bond Street, where they will slow-roast a 200 pound heritage breed Crossabaw Pig.

Cooked on an infiernillo (literally "little inferno" but more commonly known as "little hell"), the pig slowly roasts between two large iron griddles with an intense wood fire above and below, a method developed by Chef Mattos' South American Mentor, Chef Francis Mallmann.

Throughout the night, Chef Mattos will tend to the flames while encountering late-night passersby for an incredibly fun New York night.

Starting at 1pm, friends and family alike will line up early for a convivial feast of all things pig.

Tickets will be available on-site for $20 per plate. Red and white Wine, Prosecco, Lambrusco, and Wolffer Estates Apple Wine will be $10 per beverage. Beer will be $8.

il Buco works extensively with the Crossabaw Pig, a special hybrid of the a rare breed Ossabaw, a pig from Georgia's coast on Ossabaw Island. The Ossabaw, left by the Spaniards more than a century ago, is a direct descendant of the "Pata Negra", or black-footed pig so treasured for its flavorful meat.

These Ossabaw pigs are raised in the open woods in North Carolina, on a diet of acorns and peanuts, both extremely high in oleic acid, the same fats that make olive oil so healthy. So pig is, indeed, good for you!

Executive Chef Mattos is from Santa Lucia, Uruguay. A protégé of the renowned South American Chef, Francis Mallmann, Ignacio has also worked with Alice Waters at Chez Panisse, Spain's Martín Berasategui, and with Judy Rodgers at Zuni Café.

As Executive Chef of il Buco, a beloved NYC establishment that has been open for 15 years, Ignacio has had the honor of cooking at the James Beard Foundation, has taught cooking classes with the Institute of Culinary Education (ICE), the French Culinary Institute (FCI), DeGustibus and The New School and has participated in numerous food events in and around New York City.


Happy Birthday to The French Laundry

There are restaurants that star in my recurring gastronomic fantasies. Among them is Thomas Keller's The French Laundry.

This month marks the 15th anniversary of Chef Keller's Napa Valley culinary vision and the 10th anniversary of  The French Laundry Cookbook, a compendium that tells the stories behind the menus created at his Yountville restaurant.

The wit and the whimsy behind these beautifully focused small plates bring food enthusiasts out for tasting menus which never replicate a food or flavor at a cost of $240 per person.

Beginning with a signature amuse-bouche of Salmon Tartare Cornets with Sweet Red Onion Creme Fraiche and ending with mignardises, the menu is famous for its Oysters and Pearls, Sabayon of Pearl Tapioca with Island Creek Oysters and White Sturgeon Caviar - among others. There are websites dedicated to cooking their way through this gorgeously photographed tome.

Each night's variation just a bit different from the last, Chef de cuisine Corey Lee collaborates with staff and purveyors to produce nightly menus from what is fresh, local and seasonal. The result is magical. 

The one word that is a recurring theme in Keller's restaurants: finesse. And if rumors are true, NYers will be treated to a new Keller restaurant this fall.