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    THE NIBBLE’s Gourmet News & Views

    Trends, Products & Items Of Note In The World Of Specialty Foods

    This is the blog section of THE NIBBLE. Read all of our content on TheNibble.com,
    the online magazine about gourmet and specialty food.

Archive for Restaurants

RESTAURANT: Fast Casual Indian Food At Baluchi’s Fresh

Baluchi's_spread-230r

All of this awaits at Baluchi’s Fresh, and it’s
all absolutely delicious. Photo courtesy
Baluchi’s Fresh.

 

Baluchi’s Fresh promises to change the way New Yorkers think about Indian food. Established by the son of a New York-based Indian restaurant family (including Devi, the first Michelin star Indian restaurant in the U.S.), it brings fresh, high quality Indian food (including hormone-free meats) to a fast food venue.

There are rice bowls, wraps, salads and sides, using only farm-fresh vegetables; vegetarian and vegan options.

Everything is so delicious, we can easily skip the china, silverware and ambiance and dash in whenever we need a fix of flavorful Indian fare.

The vegetarian and non-vegetarian choices are in top form, representing both traditional dishes and street food (chaat). They include favorites such as:

  • Chicken Tikka Masala, Lamb Rogan Josh, Goan Shrimp, Goat Currry.
  • Vegetarian choices such as Aloo Papri, Bhel Puri, Cauliflower Manchurian, Chana Masala, Daal, Kale & Onion Pakoras, Masala Fries, Paneer Tikka Masala, Saag Paneer and Tandoori Stuffed Aloo.
  •  
    There are meat and vegetarian samosas, daily specials, and absolutely celestial onion naan, hot from the tandoor oven.

     

    Baluchi’s Fresh is located in Manhattan at 37 West 43rd Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues. The hours are:

  • Monday-Thursday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
  • Friday-Saturday 11 a.m. to 12 midnight.
  • Sunday 12 noon to 10 p.m.
  •  
    For more information and daily specials call 1.212.921.7979. The website is coming soon.

    You can take out or eat in; delivery is in the works. Baluchi’s Fresh is a great addition to the neighborhood. We hope the concept spreads far and wide.

     

    WHAT’S IN THE RECIPE?

    Here’s a quick demystification of the dishes served at Baluchi’s Fresh:

  • Aloo Papri: potato crisps.
  • Bhel Puri: puffed rice and vegetables in a tangy tamarind sauce.
  • Chana Masala: spicy chickpeas.
  • Dal: spicy lentils.
  • Chicken Tikka Masala: roasted chunks of chicken in a spicy, creamy sauce colored orange with tomato paste.
  • Goan Shrimp: tangy, spicy sauteed shrimp with coriander, cumin and coconut.
  • Lamb Rogan Josh: braised lamb chunks in a brown gravy of garlic, ginger, onions, yogurt and aromatic spices.
  • Naan: a leavened and puffy oven-baked flatbread.
  • Pakora: fritter.
  •  

    manchurian-cauliflower-beauty-230

    Cauliflower so good, people who never eat it will beg for more. Photo courtesy Baluchi’s Fresh.font>

  • Paneer Tikka Masala: cubed paneer (a fresh Indian cheese) in spiced sauce.
  • Saag Paneer: paneer cheese in a spinach sauce (or other dark green, such as broccoli or mustard greens.
  • Samosa: a savory stuffed, fried pastry.
  • Tandoori Stuffed Aloo: potatoes stuffed with paneer and spices.
  •  

    Now, head to Baluchi’s Fresh and try them all for yourself!

      

    Comments

    RESTAURANT: Beer & Buns

    osaka-slider-230

    One of 10 yummy slider recipes, each paired with a craft beer. Photo courtesy Beer & Buns.

     

    Of all the gourmet burger restaurants in New York City, our new favorite is Beer & Buns, in the Murray Hill section of Manhattan. Hopefully, the concept will expand to our neighborhood…and hopefully, we’ll be able to get in the door.

    Beer & Buns has a Thai chef, Wisit Panpinyo (known to his colleagues as Chef Nok). He draws upon European and Asian influences to create a slider-fusion concept, serving up the rich flavors of Thailand and Southeast Asia as well as the Western favorites. The culinary team has paired each recipe with a craft beer.

    Want a bigger bite? There are a few regular-size burgers:a classic with marinated ground beef plus two vegetarian burgers, chickpea and portobello. Guests can select a wide range of sauces including chipotle mayonnaise, spicy ranch dipping sauce, curry mayo and soy ginger sauce.

    And then there’s the “B&B Indulgence,” which at $250 per burger is beyond our budget—but we did enjoy tasting it at a media preview.

    What’s in a $250 burger?

     
    A patty of Kobe beef is topped with Sauternes-sautéed foie gras, fresh truffles & Beluga caviar, served on a homemade bun. The combination of the beef and foie gras was celestial, but the truffle and caviar flavors got lost in the process. If we could have the burger with foie gras only for, say, $50, we’d be there regularly.

    But if you’ve got deep pockets, by all means go ahead (and take us as your dining companion). Plan ahead: The chef would your order at least one day in advance to ensure the freshest ingredients.

    THE SLIDERS

    You’ll want to try them all!

  • Bangkok Dangerous: Traditional tom yum whole shrimp, lemongrass, lime & Thai vinaigrette on a brioche bun.
  • Bollywood Bite: Grilled chicken thighs marinated with a Tandoori Indian herb & topped with spicy yogurt sauce on a brioche bun.
  • Grouper On Fire: Grouper filet fried, topped with spicy chili sauce & sweet basil on an onion brioche bun.
  • Kuala Lumpur Zest: Chicken breast marinated with satay seasoning & topped with peanut sauce on a potato bun.
  • Mediterranean Garden: Chickpea burger, lettuce, tomato & Tahini sauce on a mini pita roll.
  • Osaka Breeze: Salmon filet marinated with lemongrass & teriyaki sauce on an onion brioche bun.
  • Phuket Fantasy: Lump crab cake infused with green curry on an onion brioche bun.
  • Roman Evergreen: Marinated grilled portobello mushroom, micro greens & brie on a mini ciabatta roll.
  • Seoul Secret: Short ribs slow cooked with vegetables, fresh herbs, red wine, & Korean beef sauce on a mantou bun
  • Southern Smack Down: Pulled pork shoulder marinated with fresh herbs, vegetables & Japanese soy sauce on a mantou bun.
  •  
    And they’re nicely priced: three sliders for $12 or five for $17.

     

    THE SIDES

    Be sure to order a selection of everybody’s favorite sides: traditional French fries, Parmesan truffle fries, sweet potato fries, homemade potato chips, lobster mac ‘n’ cheese, beer battered onion rings, beer battered vegetable tempura and sautéed bok choi.

    Oh, yum!

     
    BEYOND SLIDERS

    The rest of the menu is a round-up of casual chic:

  • Fried chicken strips with spicy chili sauce and chipotle mayo.
  • Pulled pork quesadilla with Cheddar, Manchego cheese and the fixings: guacamole, salsa and sour cream.
  • Pork or vegetable potstickers, served with ginger soy sauce.
  •  

    sliders-trio-230

    Chickpea burger, pulled pork and tandoori chicken with peanut sauce sliders. Photo courtesy Beer & Buns.

     

  • Coconut shrimp, beer-battered and deep fried, served with pineapple salsa.
  • Garlic chicken wings, beer battered and served with blue cheese & spicy ranch dipping sauces.
  • Salads: Caesar, Chef Nok (an Italian chef salad), Cobb, grilled chicken, grilled shrimp, tuna seaweed avocado, seasonal mixed greens.
  • Desserts are all-American: bread pudding with caramel sauce, truffle chocolate cake; New York cheesecake and a mixed berry parfait.

    In the warm weather, there’s an intimate outdoor courtyard space.

    For reservations call 212.686.1600 extension 2364, or email beerandbuns@stgilesnewyork.com.

    We can’t wait to go back!

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Red Lentil Soup, Other Greek Yogurt Delights & Aleppo Pepper

    Choabani

    Red lentil soup is golden and glorious. Photo
    by Marcus Nilsson | Chobani.

     

    What do you do after your start-up Greek-style yogurt brand becomes the number one brand in the country?

    You continue to share your love of your homeland’s foods by opening a café.

    Chobani founder and CEO Hamdi Ulukaya moved to New York from his native Turkey and couldn’t find thick yogurt as widely available as it was back home. The rest is yogurt history; now, hopefully, the other wonderful yogurt-based foods at his Chobani Soho café* will find as many fans.

    The current café is a revision of the initial concept, which focused on yogurt with savory or sweet toppings†. They’re still on the menu, not joined by soups and simits—the bagel-like, sesame-topped street food of Turkey, available with a variety of fillings.

    We’re a sucker for a simit—we had our first one just a year ago when a simit sandwich shop opened on our block.

    Chobani Soho’s simits include “Bagel + Cream Cheese” (the cream cheese is actually labne, also spelled labneh, and called “Lebanese cream cheese”; Seasonal Preserves + Labne, Smoked Salmom + Herbed Labne; Spiced Chicken + Pomegranate Onion; and Tomato + Olive Tapenade.

     

    We were invited to a media reception where we got to taste everything, all of it terrific. But for us, the star on the menu is the red lentil soup—easy to make, and so luscious and comforting that you’ll be making it again and again. Thanks to Chobani for sharing the recipe.

     
    *The cafe is located at 150 Prince Street at West Broadway in New York City; 1.646.998.3800.

    † SWEET CREATIONS: Blueberry + Power, Fig + Walnut, Fresh Fruit + Granola, Peanut Butter + Jelly, Pistachio + Chocolate, Toasted Coconut + Pineapple. SAVORY CREATIONS: Hummus + Za’atar, Mango + Avocado, Pomegranate + Caramelized Onion (our favorite!) Red Pepper Harissa + Feta, Zucchini Pesto + Tomato.

    RECIPE: CHOBANI RED LENTIL SOUP

    Red lentils (which range in color from yellow to orange to red) are sweeter than the green lentils typically used in American lentil soup, and the brown lentils used elsewhere.

    Ingredients

  • 3 cups lentils
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 1-1/2 tablespoon salt
  • Pinch Aleppo pepper‡
  • 4 quarts water
  • 4 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup plain 2% Chobani Greek yogurt
  •  
    ‡A substitute for Aleppo pepper is 4 parts sweet paprika and 1 part cayenne. See the section below on Aleppo pepper.

     

    Preparation

    1. PLACE lentils in a strainer and rinse under cold water.

    2. COMBINE all ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and simmer for 25 minutes.

    3. ADD yogurt. Use an immersion blender to blend until smooth.

    4. COOL in an ice bath and then refrigerate. Reheat before serving. Blend with immersion blender after reheating to eliminate lumps and smooth out soup.

    5. MAKE garnish: Melt ¼ pound butter in a small sauce pan until foaming. Add ½ teaspoon Aleppo pepper and remove from heat. Drizzle ½ teaspoon (for an 8-ounce portion) or ¾ teaspoon (for a 12-ounce portion). Keep butter warm and garnish with a spoon of Aleppo pepper butter before serving.

     

    Choabani

    Simit, the “Turkish bagel,” ready to meet thick labne. Photo by Marcus Nilsson | Chobani.

    WHAT IS ALEPPO PEPPER?

    Also called halab pepper, halaby pepper, Near Eastern pepper and Syrian red pepper flakes, Aleppo pepper hales from Turkey and northern Syria. The town of Aleppo, a famous food mecca, is located in Syria near the Turkish border.

    Aleppo pepper is used to add heat and pungency to Middle Eastern dishes. It is not a berry, like peppercorns, but a moderately hot red chile that is sun-dried, seeded and crushed. (Ever since someone in the crew of Christopher Columbus came across a chile in the New World and called it “pepper,” the confusion has endured. Here’s the scoop on pepper, here’s the story on chiles.)

    The Aleppo chile’s high oil content provides a deep, rich aroma, somewhere between coffee and smoke; it has been compared to the ancho chile. It has fruity notes with mild, cumin-like undertones. It can be compared to—but is much more flavorful, complex, and less harsh than—that generic pizza staple, crushed red pepper.

    USES FOR ALEPPO PEPPER

    The moderate heat of Aleppo pepper is used:

  • With proteins: fish stews, roast chicken, grilled meats (including kabobs)
  • In veggie dishes: rice pilaf, simmered beans and lentils, to add kick to green salads (it’s delicious with yogurt and cucumbers or melon and mint salad)
  • As an attractive red garnish: on deviled eggs (or with any eggs), on potato, chicken, tuna and pasta salads
  • In any Mediterranean dish: tagines and couscous, for example
  • In classic American dishes: chili, pizza, soup, stews
  • As an everyday seasoning: add the flakes to olive oil to infuse for a vinaigrette, marinade, rub or for sautéing
  •  
    If you can’t find Aleppo pepper locally, you can buy it online. When you empty your jar of crushed red pepper flakes, replace it with Aleppo.

      

    Comments

    BAKERY CAFE: Pomme Palais At The Palace Hotel

    This meringue snowman is hollow: Fill it with
    ice cream, sorbet or mousse. Photo courtesy
    Pomme Palais.

     

    For New Yorkers and visitors to town, there’s a new attraction a block and a half from Rockefeller Center: Pomme Palais, Michel Richard’s bakery cafe in the Palace Hotel. It’s at 30 East 51st Street between Madison and Park Avenues, and is open daily from 6:30am-8:00pm. Since today is National Pastry Day, head there immediately!

    Those who know the French-born chef from his acclaimed former restaurants Citrus, Citronelle and currently, Central in Las Vegas and D.C., might be surprised to hear that he’s a pastry chef.

    The boy who learned to cook at age 7 was advised a few years later by a friend of his mother’s that if he wanted to be a chef, it would help to learn how to bake first. You can question that advice, but by age 14 young Michel was an apprentice baker at a hotel in Reims. His major experience came as a young adult at the famed Maison Lenotre in Paris, helmed by the great French pastry chef Gaston Lenôtre. After just a few years, Lenôtre chose the young pastry chef to open a New York branch.

     

    In his cookbook Sweet Magic: Easy Recipes for Delectable Desserts, Chef Richard explains why the New York City shop was short-lived:

    “In France, when you are invited to someone’s home for dinner, you often bring a great bottle of champagne and the prettiest pastry you can afford. This is not so much the custom in America. People are as likely to make desserts as they are to buy them. This was bad for Mr. Lenôtre’s venture….”

    Chef Richard invites you to reconsider the French style, and to look at his lovely selection of specialty cakes—exceptional confections to bring to holiday parties, dinners and other special occasions.

  • Michel’s Snowman (photo above) is a memorable holiday gift: a hollow meringue vacherin to be filled with ice cream, sorbet or mousse. It can be enjoyed as a centerpiece before dessert; and unlike cakes, which must be fresh, it can be kept and enjoyed for several days before filling and consuming. The meringue is soft and toothsome, and covered with sanding sugar that glistens like snowflakes. The bakery says it’s “sized for two,” but it can serve four or more, especially after a big meal. We’re buying several for home and gifting: It’s just $20!
  •  
    The other cakes, mostly $42, include:

     

  • Charlotte Cake. This lovely confection, ringed with lady fingers, is topped with fresh fruit and filled with passionfruit yogurt mousse—an inspired choice that adds a tart contrast to the sweetness. Ruby red raspberries and tiny accents of green pistachios made this cake especially Christmassy; the lady fingers are garnished with tiny rice cracker balls that add a merry, confetti-like touch.
  • Lemon Eggceptional Cake. Chef Richard turns the American favorite, lemon meringue pie, into a sponge cake (genoise) with layers of lemon curd filling. It is topped by the airiest meringue imaginable. All will delight in the decoration of white chocolate eggs with yellow-colored yolks.
  • Opera Cake. Chef Richard‘s version of this classic French layered cake of coffee, chocolate and almond flavors is the best we’ve ever had. It’s a coffee lover’s delight, and melts in your mouth.
  •  

    The Macaron Cake, garnished with gold leaf, is one of the festive options. Photo courtesy Pomme Palais.

  • Orange Crème Brûlée Cheesecake. This charming cheesecake is mis-named: The airy orange-flavored cheesecake is topped with the soft caramel topping of flan, not a hard, crackling brûlée. But whatever the name, it’s delicious and elegant—the lightest option.
  • Chocolate Fleur d’Automne and Macaron Cake (photo above). Those wishing a rich chocolate mousse experience should turn to these two beauties. The Chocolate Fleur has layers of chocolate mousse and almond meringue, covered in chocolate and topped with a huge chocolate “flower” that spans the entire top of the cake. The Macaron Cake, perhaps the prettiest of the group, layers chocolate mousse with almond vanilla sponge cake and decorates it with colorful macarons and gold leaf.
  • Tarte au Pomme. To us, the simplest dessert was the most luscious. Paper-thin sheets of puff pastry are slowly baked for a long time, transforming them into super-crisp crust topped by the most delicious pastry cream and caramelized apples. All of the other cakes are more glamorous in appearance and more complex; but this was our favorite, and Chef Richard confided that it is his favorite, too.
  •  
    Far beyond fancy cakes, Pomme Palais has luscious options for every part of the day.

  • On-the-go breakfast options: Have a brioche, croissant or pain au chocolate with cafe au lait or other coffee choice.
  • Light lunch favorites, such as French onion soup and goat cheese Caesar salad.
  • Individual pastries: a large pastry case full of tempting éclairs, fruit tartlets, napoleons and many others, including the wonderful tarte aux pommes and the best Gâteau St. Honoré we’ve ever had, both available by the slice.
  • Sophisticated treats: cookies, dragées, chocolates and a wondrous Christmas pairing of pink and green pistachio tuiles with raspberry meringues.
  •  
    For more information, visit the Pomme Palais website.

      

    Comments

    RESTAURANT: Empire Room At The Empire State Building

    It could be a 1930s movie set. Photo courtesy Empire Room | NYC.

     

    Soaring more than a quarter of a mile above the heart of Manhattan, the Empire State Building is an Art Deco masterpiece and perhaps the world’s most famous office building.

    On May 1, 1931, President Herbert Hoover pressed a button in Washington, D.C., which turned on the Empire State Building’s lights and officially opened the now-iconic building.

    Observatories on the 86th and 102nd floors offer unmatched views of New York City to some four million visitors each year. On a clear day, they can see to New Jersey, Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania.

    But what about lunch, before or after the observation decks? The Empire State Building is surrounded by fast food outlets and Irish bars—not exactly the type of ambiance one craves after the high of spectacular views.

     

    Thank goodness for the Empire Room. On the ground floor of the West 33rd Street side of the building, the space, which opened two years ago designed as a 1930s-era swanky cocktail lounge, is now serving lunch.

    The menu comprises classic American luncheon favorites: popular sandwiches, flat breads and panini; salads; and a chicken breast with sautéed mushrooms, Swiss cheese, bacon and honey Dijon. For a bargain $3.00, you can add a glass of wine or a beer; or a more pricey but delicious house-designed cocktail.

    We lunched there recently and wanted to try everything on the menu. We ended up with an excellent starter (chili, a special house recipe with flavors deepened by 100% cacao chocolate and a pinch of cinnamon), the chopped salad main course (top-quality feta cheese, garbanzo beans, roasted peppers, tomato, onion and grilled shrimp) and a delightful miniature cheesecake.

    The highest compliment we can pay is that we would gladly have returned to eat the same meal for dinner. At our earliest opportunity, we’ll be back for more.

     

    The 3,500 square feet of brushed stainless steel, curved marble bar, tufted banquettes, glass-topped tables and Art Deco chandeliers looks like a movie set. It accommodates up to 150 guests and is often rented for private parties.

    HOW TO GET THERE

  • The official address of the Empire Room 350 Fifth Avenue, which is between 33rd and 34th Streets. If you enter through the main entrance, you’ll have to perambulate through the Art Deco lobby.
  • If you’re coming from downtown, you can save a bit of walking by turning left on Fifth Avenue and 33rd Street (or a right from Sixth Avenue) and walking down the block to the entrance of the restaurant.
  •  

    A popular cocktail lounge, the Empire Room now serves lunch. Photo courtesy Empire Room.

  • The hours are 11 a.m. to 3 a.m. Walk-ins are welcome, but for a reservation call 212.643.5400.
  •  
    For more information about the Empire Room, visit HospitalityHoldings.com.

      

    Comments

    NEWS: Americans Making Better-For-You Food Choices At Restaurants

    We met our brother for lunch this weekend at California Pizza Kitchen.

    As we both ordered from what we considered to be the “better-for-you” salad menu, Brother, an attorney, looked at the small print.

    “Yikes,” he said, “My Cobb Salad has 941 calories. I thought salads were supposed to be low-calorie!”

    Well, er, not when topped with blue cheese, bacon, avocado and 1/4 cup of dressing (which is 400 calories in and of itself).

    But we are still perplexed as to how our Thai Crunch Salad added up to 1089 calories. It had lots of Napa and red cabbage, carrots, cilantro, cucumbers and scallions, with perhaps two ounces of grilled chicken and modest accents of edamame, wontons, rice sticks and peanuts. The lime-cilantro dressing was minimal.

    It seems that if we wanted to count calories, we should have gotten half portions. But we left full of fiber and protein, and grateful that we hadn’t ordered the BBQ Chicken Pizza.

    This morning, we read a Food Channel Trendwire email which announced:

     

    At 550 calories, a better-for-you entrée.
    Photo courtesy Applebee’s.

     

    Restaurant Diners Actually Starting to Make Healthier Choices

    The article led with the bad news: A report issued earlier this month by Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation showed that the national obesity epidemic continues to worsen. Only one state showed an obesity rate below 20% (and just barely): Colorado at 19.8%. Twelve states have obesity rates over 30%. Mississippi was number one at 34.4%. Seven states have seen their rates double in the past 20 years.

    But there is some good news: This year, a number of leading restaurant chains are finding significant growth in the better-for-you menu options.

  • Applebee’s. For the first time in the restaurant’s history, the top selling entrée on the menu came from the under-550 calorie menu: Signature Sirloin with Garlic Herb Sauce. Applebee’s president, Mike Archer, remarked, “I’ve been in the restaurant business for 30 years, and I’ve never seen anything like this. We’re seeing a sea change in consumer behavior.”
  • IHOP. The pancake powerhouse reports that its Simple & Fit menu, offering a range of under-600 calorie choices, now accounts for 8% of entrées sold. At 330 calories, the Spinach, Mushroom and Tomato Omelet is now a best seller.
  • Friendly’s. Four of its under-550 calorie limited time offers have sold so well that they’ve been moved to the permanent menu this summer.
  •  
    Of course, the reports don’t count any beverages, bread, appetizers and desserts, but America is finally off to a good start.

      

    Comments

    VALENTINE’S DAY: Most Romantic Restaurants

    auberge-du-soleil

    A romantic table at Auberge du Soleil in
    Napa Valley.

     

    Going out to dinner for Valentine’s Day? OpenTable.com has compiled a list of the nation’s most romantic restaurants as judged by users of the online reservations service.

    OpenTable analyzed more than 4 million reviews from last year to build the list of 50 restaurants from coast to coast. Restaurants receiving high marks in the romance department range from steakhouses to fondue restaurants.

    We’ve only been to two restaurants on this list, and give them high grades for atmosphere. One had great food, the other was just above-average for food (but we’re very picky). So, if you want both the romance and the best cuisine, ask friends.

    And if you’ve dined at any of these restaurants, please give us your opinion.

    OpenTable’s Most Romantic Restaurants In America

    * Alize at the Top of the Palms Casino Resort—Las Vegas
    * Ambrosia Restaurant—Santa Ana, Calif.
    * Andrea: The Resort at Pelican Hill—Newport Beach, Calif.
    * Auberge du Soleil—Napa, Calif.
    * Bistro Romano—Philadelphia
    * Cafe Renaissance—Vienna, Va.
    * Canlis—Seattle
    * The Cellar—Fullerton, Calif.
    * Chez Shea—Seattle
    * Different Pointe of View —Scottsdale, Ariz.
    * Eagle’s Nest: Hyatt Regency Indianapolis—Indianapolis
    * Eiffel Tower—Las Vegas
    * Erminia Ristorante—New York
    * The French Room —Dallas
    * Geja’s Cafe— Chicago
    * Gibraltar—Miami
    * Il Bistro— Seattle
    * Il Cielo—Beverly Hills, Calif.
    * La Caille Restaurant—Salt Lake City
    * La Fondue—Saratoga, Calif.
    * LA Prime at The Westin Bonaventure Hotel—Los Angeles
    * Latitudes Beach Cafe—Key West, Fla.
    * The Little Door— Los Angeles
    * Log Haven—Salt Lake City
    * Madrona Manor—Healdsburg, Calif.
    * Michel’s at the Colony Surf—Honolulu
    * The Melting Pot—various locations
    * Mona Lisa Fondue Restaurant—Colorado Springs, Colo.
    * One if by Land, Two if by Sea—New York
    * Ortolan—West Hollywood, Calif.
    * Pamplemousse—Las Vegas
    * Peter Shields Inn—Cape May, N.J.
    * Rey’s—Raleigh, N.C.
    * Shadowbrook Restaurant Capitola—Capitola, Calif.
    * Simply Fondue—Glendale, Calif.
    * The Sky Room—Long Beach, Calif.
    * Stonehouse at San Ysidro Ranch—Santa Barbara, Calif.
    * Tredici Steak—New York
    * Yamashiro—Los Angeles
    * Zenkichi—Brooklyn, N.Y.

    Comments

    RESTAURANTS: Best Restaurant Meals Of 2009

    Where did some of the nation’s top chefs and restaurateurs have their best meals of 2009?

    Participants in a survey conducted by Opinionated About included Dan Barber (Blue Hill, New York), “No Reservations” host Anthony Bourdain, Sean Brock (McCrady’s Charleston, SC), Michael Carlson (Schwa, Chicago), David Chang (Momofuku, New York), Daniel Humm (Eleven Madison Park, New York), Gale Gand (Tru, Chicago), Krista Kern Darjelais (Bresca, Portland, ME), Paul Liebrandt (Corton, New York), Thomas Keller (French Laundry, Napa Valley), Danny Meyer (Union Square Hospitality Group, New York), Daniel Patterson (Coi, San Francisco), Eric Ripert (Le Bernardin, New York), Anna Sortun (Oleana, Cambridge, MA) and Cindy Wolf (Charleston, Baltimore, MD).

    Responses range from casual to fine dining establishments around the world. Restaurants named most frequently include:

  • Aldea, New York City, Chef George Mendes
  • Corton, New York City, Chef Paul Liebrandt
  • Ferraro Bociarent, Spain, Chef Paco Morales
  • Marea/Alto New York City, Chef Michael White
  • McCrady’s Charleston, South Carolina, Chef Sean Brock
  • Mugaritz Errenteria, Spain, Chef Adoni Aduriz
  • Noma, Copenhagen, Denmark, Chef Rene Redzepi
  • Ubuntu Napa, California, Chef Jeremy Fox
  •  

    clams-pasta-aldea-rest-230

    A new take on linguine and clam sauce.
    Photo courtesy of Chef George Mendes,
    Aldea restaurant, New York City.

    The full list of respondents and restaurants can be downloaded at OpinionatedAboutDining.com.

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    NEWS: Emeril Joins The Gourmet Burger Lineup



    Emeril Lagasse is about to debut a gourmet burger restaurant named Burgers And More, or … BAM! The restaurant, set to open November 22nd in the Sands Casino Resort in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, will specialize in burgers made from a blend of prime and grass-fed beef. Burgers And More will also have an ample nonbeef burger menu, including crab, mushroom, salmon and turkey, along with hand-cut French fries, condiments made from scratch, malts and shakes and local draft beers. (We’re ready for a crab burger with a craft brew right now!)

    Asked if he planned to replicate the burger concept elsewhere, Lagasse said he didn’t yet know: “We’ll have to see how it goes.” As the burger generally ranks on surveys as America’s favorite food, it should go well.

    Chef Lagasse joins other celebrity chefs who find that the margins are higher (and more fans are to be made) in selling burgers over foie gras…although Daniel Boulud has done both with his pioneering gourmet burger stuffed with shorts ribs and foie gras, available at NYC’s Bistro Moderne.

     

    piggie-230

    “The Piggie,” at DBGB Kitchen & Bar in New
    York City, features a beef burger on Boston
    lettuce topped by pulled pork, with jalapeño mayonnaise. Photo by T. Schauer © DBGB.

    Burger Gourmania

    Other chefs with burger restaurant concepts include Bobby Flay, Hubert Keller and Laurent Tourondel. “Top Chef” contender Richard Blais’s menu at Atlanta’s Flip Burger Boutique includes 30 rotating burgers, with a daily choice of 8-10 beef burgers, three vegetarian burgers, three pork burgers, and three “alternative meats,” lamb, duck and venison. Numerous others, like Chef Boulud, have added gourmet burgers to their casual restaurant menus. Boulud’s recently-opened DBGB Kitchen & Bar in New York (a favorite of the NIBBLE staff) offers three kinds of gourmet burgers, one of which is pictured above, a happy marriage of burger, pulled pork and jalapeño on a Cheddar cornbread bun.

  • Make better burgers at home with these burger-making tips.
  • If cheeseburgers are your thing, check out these gourmet cheeseburger recipes.

  • Comments

    DISCOUNT: Cheesecake Factory’s Cheesecake Half Price On 7/30



    The Cheesecake Factory invites you to celebrate National Cheesecake Day, July 30th. Dine in at any Cheesecake Factory and enjoy a slice of your favorite flavor of cheesecake for half price. There are 30 flavors to choose from, including low-carb options.

    July 30th is also the debut of the newest cheesecake flavor, Stefanie’s Ultimate Red Velvet Cake Cheesecake: two layers of red velvet cake and two layers of creamy cheesecake (what a country!).

    Don’t look at this as self-indulgence: It’s charity work. For every slice of Stefanie’s Ultimate Red Velvet Cake Cheesecake sold over the next 12 months, The Cheesecake Factory will donate 25 cents to Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger relief charity.

    Are you ready to help the cause?

  • Find your nearest Cheesecake Factory.
  • Make your own with our favorite cheesecake recipes.
  •  

    red-velvet-cheesecake-230

    Red Velvet Cheesecake debuts at The Cheesecake Factory on July 30th, National Cheesecake Day.

    Comments

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