Friday, February 17, 2017

Celebrating Mardi Gras at New Orlean's Bourbon-Themed Restaurant plus Three Classic Mardi Gras Cocktail Recipes

--> --> 
My latest Daily Meal Article lets you in on how to get the most out of your next Bourbon plus recipes for 3 New Orleans Cocktails

Staff Writer

150 Bourbons and Counting
Kenton’s is devoted to the all-American spirit locals love.

In a town where one of the main thoroughfares is called Bourbon Street, there just has to be a restaurant dedicated to the whiskey that shares its name. That restaurant is a place called Kenton’s Food and Bourbon. Located away from the hubbub of the French Quarter, in New Orlean’s Garden district, Kenton’s is a shrine to bourbon. Its menu lists no less than 150 kinds of the brown gold liquor, and you can find bourbon cooked into many of the menu items.

Sean Josephs, who owns Kenton’s with his wife, New Orleans native Mani Dawes, says that his passion for bourbon grew out of his studies as a sommelier. Along with his wine studies, he learned much about spirits and was amazed at the quality and complexity bourbon delivered relative to its price. “Even the most young and humble of bourbons can deliver a profound drinking experience,” he says.  

Flat boats brought Bourbon from Kentucky to NOLA
The couple’s first bourbon-themed establishment was the now-closed Char No. 4 in Brooklyn. They subsequently opened Maysville, in Manhattan’s Flatiron District. (They also have the popular Chelsea tapas bar Tia Pol.) Maysville’s name is an homage to the town of Maysville, Kentucky, whence Kentucky’s pride and joy was shipped out on flatboats, floating downriver to New Orleans, where the real partying began. Kenton’s, in turn, is named in honor of Simon Kenton, who founded Maysville. (It’s worth noting that Maysville is in Bourbon County, and that Louisiana was first settled by the French, who named the place Louisiane after their king, Louis XIV — whose family name was Bourbon.)

Thursday, February 16, 2017

An Invitation to CheeseWeek New York

Originally published on The Daily Meal, this should make Cheese Lovers in New York stand up and cheer.
Staff Writer

If you can’t make it to Cheese Day in Paris, enjoy Cheese Week in the States

We recently learned all about the second year of Cheese Day in Paris, where, on Feb. 20, cheesemakers, chefs, sommeliers, and cheese-lovers will all gather in a one-day salute to the glories of European cheeses. But if you can’t be in Paris for the festivities, don’t worry: Cheese Week is coming to New York from Feb. 21 to 26. Not to be left out, chefs in Philadelphia and California, like their New York counterparts, will spotlight cheeses from France and around the world on their menus all week long. 
In New York, the French Cheese Board has organized a whole menu of tastings all over the city, including cheeses, wines, and spirits. These two-hour sessions will feature cheeses from some of France’s great cheesemakers. From well-known names like Marin and Alouette (both of which make their French-style cheeses in American settings) to boutique imports like Fromagerie Arnaud and Fromagerie Henri Hutin, cheese-fanciers will be hard-pressed to choose which tasting to attend. It is suggested that oenophiles check the pairings that will be offered at each tasting. From powerhouse names like Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafites) to Champagnes Brimoncourt and Calvados Boulard, and new discoveries like the wines of Chateau Tourril, there will be something for every wine connoisseur. Centered around the French Cheese Board in SoHo (41 Spring St.), all New Yorkers are invited to attend these tastings. Reservations can be made here.
Festivities are also the order of the day at Murray’s Cheese Shop at both Grand Central Station and the Bleecker Street location. Each day of Cheese Week, samplings will take place from 3 to 6 p.m. and discounts will be offered on select French cheeses. At their neighboring Cheese Bar (264 Bleecker St.), French cheese and wine pairings will be offered as well as their regular menu. There will even be a special cheese class called “Vive La France: French Wine and Cheeses” to be held on Tuesday, Feb. 21. Open to the public, it’s wise to call for a reservation at (212) 243-3289. Meanwhile, uptown at Zabar’s, three-hour cheese tastings will take place both Feb. 24 and 25 from 2 to 5 p.m.

Are these the Best Brussels Sprouts Ever? Ilili's Brussels Sprouts

Last Saturday, we went downtown to Ilili which has the distinction of being the top Lebanese restaurant in New York.  That being said, Lebanese restaurants aren’t exactly a dime a dozen here.  In fact, in all of New York there are only 10 places serving Lebanese cuisine, while about another ten call themselves “Middle Eastern”.  That’s rather a surprise given that, at last count, there were 24,000 places to eat in Manhattan alone.  But Ilili (236 Fifth Avenue, NY 10001 (Tel: 212-683-2929) stands proudly Lebanese. Ilili means “tell me” in Arabic, a phrase which the restaurant says is used in many ways: “a whisper between two friends, an invitation to share a secret and a proclamation to get the conversation started.”  The latter of the three was the one most in evidence on our visit to the 200-seat restaurant. The place was filled with big tables for 10 and 12 and amazingly diverse crowd of every ethnicity. 

Our friends Julie and Geoff were old hands at Ilili and insisted that we order the Brussels Sprouts. Having traveled 40 blocks downtown in the cold, I can’t say that we thrilled about eating Brussels Sprouts.  We should have been. They were incredible.  Even the most ardent Brussels Sprouts haters would have trouble not loving these.  The sprouts are roasted, a cornucopia of flavors are added: fig butter, roasted walnuts, sliced red grapes and a mint yogurt sauce all add up to an extraordinary dish, a marvel of contrasting textures, of juicy-sweet and crispy-crunchy, And what, you may well ask, are Brussels Sprouts doing on a Lebanese restaurant menu?  Well I scoured the internet and I can’t find a single source saying that Brussels Sprouts have anything to do with Lebanese cooking. But I think I know why these sprouts found their way into Ilili’s kitchen.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Valentine's Day Chicken La Tulipe a la Monte

This Valentine’s Day, we bring you the Valentine’s advice of one Jonathon Reynolds.  Mr Reynolds, who wrote for talk shows helmed by David Frost and Dick Cavett, first brought the recipe to the New York Times in 2000.  It was from a beloved and romantic Greenwich Village restaurant called “La Tulipe”.

Mr. Reynolds, a bachelor, discovered that a man cooking for a woman was wildly seductive.  He never claimed to fully understand the phenomenon but he reported that “perhaps it’s the surprise, or the role reversal…or the implied altruism – he’s taking the time to whip up that bavorois just for me—but every woman I’ve asked claims that a man cooking specifically for her is an aphrodisiac.”  I’d like to point out that the Times also tested among men cooking for men and women cooking for women and it had the same effect.  So if you want to impress, make this dish and you’ll have people falling all over you. Or at least, one special person.