“Timing is everything,” says Michael Schwartz (above) when asked to explain the wild success—and longevity—of his Miami Design District bistro Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink (130 NE 40th St.; 305-573-5550).
It opened in 2007, when the farm-to-table movement was in full swing and a mini backlash was brewing against the lavish and swank. “It was a moment when people were ready to redefine what fine dining was, and that it didn’t have to mean getting dressed up to go to a fancy place where you’d talk quietly.” Almost overnight, Schwartz’s menu and simple, loft-like room earned him praise. “I’m not going to say I knew Prada, Cartier and Louis Vuitton would spring up next to me,” laughs the 50-year-old, who went on to open Harry’s Pizzeria (3918 North Miami Ave.; 786-275-4963) and The Cypress Room (3620 NE Second Ave.; 305-520-5197).
Though in the end, it’s not the zip code but rather his memorable dishes—especially the particularly outstanding côte de boeuf—that fueled the Schwartz frenzy.
Photo courtesy of Serge Bloch
Thomas Keller first collaborated with All-Clad more than a decade ago, and now the brand is launching the new All-Clad TK collection together with the chef, who opened The French Laundry in Yountville, California, 20 years ago. The 15-piece collection features flared edges for drip-free pouring, universal lids (which sit flush against the rim of the cookware, so only three are needed across the entire collection) and a wider base for faster heating at lower temperatures. “We really wanted to make cookware more practical for the home cook,” says Keller. “There are fewer pieces because each item is multifunctional—it all makes much more sense.” One of the chef’s favorite recipes is scrambled eggs made in the two-quart saucier, which features a uniquely curved shape that allows him to whisk the eggs without having anything stick to the corners. A four-piece set begins at $800; williams-sonoma.com.
OEUFS BROUILLÉS (Scrambled Eggs)
- 4 farm-fresh eggs
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 tbsp crème fraîche, such as Kendall Farms brand
- Kosher salt, to taste
Break eggs into a mixing bowl and beat until homogeneous. (You can also use a blender.) Strain eggs through a sieve into All-Clad TK 2-quart saucier. Add butter and place pan over a medium-low flame. Continually whisk over heat until mixture begins to thicken and form fine curds that are still very creamy and not completely set. Whisk in crème fraîche and cook for a few seconds longer. Season to taste with salt. (Add freshly ground pepper or fresh herbs such as chives or dill, if desired). Spoon eggs onto warm plates and serve right away.
I prefer to eat my eggs soft and somewhat creamy with small curds, but if you prefer your eggs with larger curds or more well done than I do, whisk less and cook more. —Thomas Keller
Veronica Meewes / www.mywellfedlife.com
For years, Segheria, a former sawmill on the edge of Milan, was one of the city’s hottest venues for a fashionable event—for hosting exclusive, invite-only runway shows, art installations and A-list soirees (Sting performed at one of them), this was the place to book.
But this past spring, Tanja Solci, the freelance art director behind the unfinished industrial space, decided to make it far more accessible, and joined forces with top chef Carlo Cracco to open a restaurant, Carlo e Camilla.
The new spot features a tiled bar, crystal chandeliers, long communal wood tables and an open-door policy (walk-ins are welcome) that’s kept it packed every night. The offbeat food and cocktails often mirror each other—a poached egg with licorice and lavender might be paired with a bourbon cocktail with lavender smoke—making for a daring approach in this wine-obsessed city.
Carlo e Camilla’s eclectic yet minimal decor is also a real draw. While keeping the rawness of the space intact, Solci has filled her family’s once abandoned lumberyard with a striking mix of modern and flea market finds—a Ron Arad table lies beside antique steamer trunks that belonged to her grandmothers; Capellini chairs sit in front of old, mismatched Ginori plates. The mood boards she started with lean against a wall in the pebbled courtyard out front, showcasing in clippings and sketches how the whole look came to be. “My idea of modernity is respecting memories,” she says, “but also doing something up to date.” Via Giuseppe Meda 24; 39-2/837-3963, carloecamillainsegheria.it.
Photo courtesy of Kevin Koh / Lighted Pixels
In today’s world of gluten hostility, it almost feels rebellious to handle a cookbook exalting flour in all its glutinous forms. But chefs Janice Wong (2am:dessertbar in Singapore) and Ma Jian Jun have delivered exactly that in their collaborative (and now English-translated) effort, Dim Sum (Gatehouse). The subtitle itself, “A Flour-forward Approach to Traditional Favorites and Contemporary Creations,” might as well be a warning label.
Here, however, flour is key as the cause behind the consistency, appearance and flavor of each mouthwatering dumpling, bun and pastry featured. (There’s even a flowchart that explains the connection between them: high gluten = elastic skin = shao mai.) Consider the number of flour casings (“skins”) that are listed—crystal, elastic, chewy, matte, stretchable, transparent and sticky—not to mention the cloud-like buns and flaky pancakes that appear across these pages.
Equally important, however, is the latter half of the book’s subtitle, which declares the chefs’ quest to rethink traditional dim sum dishes for a modern palate and sensibility. While classic flavors are ever-present—shrimp, pork, crab and custard appear throughout—their inventive combinations of dill and turbot, foie gras and cognac, anchovy and scallop, tripe and yuzu have likely never appeared on the menu at your local Chinatown tea parlor.
The result is an elevated approach to an unctuous dining experience and a collection of 90 edibles as beautiful to look at as they are tasty to imagine. Though each dish’s recipe fits on a single page—the design and layout of the book are as modern as its culinary mindset—do not be fooled by the brevity. These dishes call for techniques, proper equipment and patience—and maybe a new appreciation for gluten—that will likely take time to master. gatehouse.com.
Photo courtesy of Cory Pavitt
Subscription boxes may be a dime a dozen these days, but every so often something special arrives at our door. While we already call on Monthly Express for all our beauty needs, it’s Try the World we’ll turn to for gourmet goods, sourced from around the globe.
Every two months, members receive a new mint-green box filled with treats from a different city—Paris, Tokyo, Rio de Janeiro, Rome, Istanbul and New Delhi, in that order. While the sequence stays the same, the products from each locale will differ each time a new box is shipped. (Don’t like a particular city? Feel free to skip it at any time. Or order each à la carte.)
Curated with the help of in-the-know local experts—chef Christophe Schmitt of Le Diane; French DJs Marvin and Oscar; and filmmaker Nicolas Slomka all contributed to the recent Paris selection—each box is an authentic collection of premium goodies not easily found anywhere else. (The latest Tokyo box, for example, came with Morinaga, an iconic caramel candy with over 100 years of history.)
Complete with a playlist, movie recommendations and local tips, Try the World does more than give a small taste of the world’s unique cuisines; it invites its travel-savvy members along for the ride from the comfort of their own kitchens. trytheworld.com.
© Courtesy of Grand Banks
The 142-foot schooner Sherman Zwicker, built in 1942, lowered its gangplank yesterday and welcomed the public aboard for exhibitions on maritime history, a curated lecture series on aquatic sustainability and an alfresco oyster bar called Grand Banks.
Developed by brothers Alex and Miles Pincus, founders of the sailing school Atlantic Yachting, and restaurateur Mark Firth, co-founder of Brooklyn favorites Diner (85 Broadway; 718-486-3077; dinernyc.com) and Marlow & Sons (81 Broadway; 718-384-1441; marlowandsons.com), the Sherman Zwicker project plays to a seafaring theme. That includes the menu, which, in addition to serving sustainably sourced oysters (Naked Cowboy, Malpeque, Kumamoto), offers seasonal dishes like scallop crudo, lobster rolls and grilled peaches and “nautically inspired” cocktails (many made using Navy strength rum) alongside beer and wine.
While the boat bar will be docked in Tribeca until October, Firth is considering taking the moveable feast elsewhere, with possible stops in Brooklyn, New Orleans and Key West. As he says, “Lets see where the wind blows us.” Pier 25, Hudson River Park; 212-960-3390.
Breakfast is arguably the most important meal of the day, but its benefits—not unlike those of sleep or hydration—are especially appreciated on the road. The Japanese version of the meal, with its satiating, sky-high protein content and lower sugar dosage, which help mitigate midday fatigue, is prized for being hearty, not heavy. And the menus are becoming increasingly prevalent at hotels worldwide. Here are three of the best.
Clement, The Peninsula, New York
Chef Brandon Kida brings his Japanese heritage to the menu at The Peninsula hotel’s brand-new Clement restaurant, where dishes composed of locally sourced ingredients receive an Asian flair, such as miso-accompanied Elysian Fields lamb or Barnegat Light scallops paired with yuzu and apple. Look for the same range at daybreak: A bento box of grilled sockeye salmon, tofu-rich miso soup and pickled vegetables is teamed with a tamagoyaki—a rolled, paper-thin Japanese omelet that is an alternative to the restaurant’s fluffy American version. At 700 Fifth Ave.; 212-903-3918; newyork.peninsula.com.
Le Cinq, Four Seasons Hotel George V, Paris
Executive chef Eric Briffard’s dedication to fresh, carefully sourced products helped earn this hotel restaurant two Michelin stars and a local following. The morning-time fare follows suit. One look at Briffard’s ten-plate Japanese breakfast reveals the hyper-specific stops around Paris he took to complete it: daikon turnips and spinach from a Japanese garden in Île-de-France; soya and rice from Japanese delicatessen Workshop Issé; and steaming pots of genmaicha from the tea room Jugetsudo, in the Sixth Arrondissement. At 31 Av. George V; 33-1/49-52-71-54; restaurant-lecinq.com.
Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London
Guests need not travel far from London’s Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park to get a taste of the world—or the talents of three different chefs. For traditionally inspired British bites, leave it to the team at Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, and the crew at Bar Boulud satisfies midday French-bistro cravings. But morning hunger pangs are eradicated in the lovely main dining room, thanks to executive chef Chris Tombling, whose Japanese breakfast is a tray of ten components, including ginger-laced tofu, dried seaweed and a detoxifying juice selection of spinach and pineapple or carrot and ginger. At 66 Knightsbridge; 44-20/72-35-20-00; mandarinoriental.com.
Cravings shift with the seasons, but comfort food always finds a home on the table. Pasta is a consistent crowd-pleaser—especially in the form of a revamped classic.
At The Gander (15 W. 18th St.; 212-229-9500; thegandernyc.com)—a new restaurant, located in New York’s Flatiron District, from chef Jesse Schenker of Recette—the ethos focuses on elevating familiar dishes. Schenker’s take on spaghetti with clams at the restaurant tosses housemade spaghetti with a lobster-clam sauce, three types of clams (razor, geoduck, littleneck), guanciale and braised fennel.
“This dish is one of my favorites on the menu,” says Schenker. “The adapted version here [easy for home cooks] works well using readily available items. It’s a great recipe for summer entertaining—it’s light and briny, and summer is prime season for fresh, succulent clams.”
Spaghetti with Clams
1 lb spaghetti
16 oz clam juice
8 oz heavy cream
½ leek, chopped
½ Spanish onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, smashed whole
20 littleneck clams, in shells
1 ½ cups dry white wine, such as a neutral Pinot Grigio
2 fennel bulbs, diced
2 cups dry vermouth
Pinch of fennel seeds
Cook pasta according to directions on box. Meanwhile, heat clam juice in a pan over high heat and cook for about 20 minutes uncovered, stirring occasionally—making sure it doesn’t burn—until juice is reduced by half. Add the cream and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, until viscous. Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in another pan over high heat and add the leek, onion, garlic and clams. Add white wine and cover. Cook for about 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the leek, onion, garlic and clams, set aside in a bowl and reserve liquid in a separate bowl. Add 2 tbsps butter to the pan and add fennel, vermouth and fennel seeds. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, and reduce until sticky, about 40 minutes. Add pasta, clams and sauce to the pan with fennel, toss and serve.
Photo courtesy of iStockphoto
From white truffles to Wagyu beef to wild matsutake mushrooms, there are enough delicacies in this world to fill any epicure’s plate. But the once cherished lobster—now served year-round at many a beach shack, food truck and fine-dining establishment—rarely makes anyone’s list anymore. That is, unless it’s from Fourchu.
Considered the best in the world for their flavor and texture, the protected crustaceans, found in waters off Cape Breton Island near Nova Scotia, are available for just ten weeks a year. Luckily, the season has just begun at L’Ecole (462 Broadway; 212-219-3300), the Michelin-reviewed restaurant of the International Culinary Center (ICC).
“Fourchu is at the southeastern part of the island, perfect for two things: very, very cold waters and deep and rocky bottoms,” explains ICC’s CEO and founder Dorothy Cann Hamilton. “The rocky bottom is important because various proteins and plankton live on the rocks, which the lobsters eat. It gives them a special and unique flavor.” Plus, she adds, the colder the water the sweeter and firmer the lobster.
According to Canadian sustainability laws, only 20 artisanal fishing boats (with three to four people onboard) are licensed to fish the area for the lobsters. Thanks to Cann Hamilton, whose family arrived on Cape Breton Island in 1760 as cod fishermen, New Yorkers can experience the delicacy through early August in either a lobster roll served with French fries for lunch or as a one-and-a-half-pound steamed lobster with gem-lettuce salad, fries and drawn butter and lemon for dinner. “Fourchu, lobster and cod are in my DNA,” she says. “I am thrilled as a food professional to taste these lobsters today and know they hold up to the world’s great delicacies.”
Courtesy of BottleRock Napa Valley
There is no shortage of excuses to indulge in excellent food these days, whether it’s a fleeting pop-up dinner by a hot chef or a five-day island event. Summer brings food festivals, and we singled out three to try this year.
- It’s difficult to distinguish which is the bigger draw at BottleRock: the food and drink or the music. Held on 26 acres in Napa Valley, the three-day fest features numerous restaurants (La Toque, Angèle, The Thomas), a craft-brew beer garden, a food-truck alley and wine cabanas and bars, as well as music by the likes of Outkast, the Cure and TV on the Radio. May 30 to June 1; bottlerocknapavalley.com.
- Nothing signals summer like barbecue, and the Windy City Smokeout brings some of the country’s best pit masters to downtown Chicago. For three days, talent from Texas (The Salt Lick), New York (Dinosaur Bar-B-Que) and St. Louis (Pappy’s Smokehouse) joins chefs from local joints Bub City, Smoque and Lillie’s Q for a finger-licking good time. Three-time barbecue world champion Myron Mixon will even serve up a whole hog. Plenty of beer and country music are also on offer. July 11–13; windycitysmokeout.com.
- The Hawai’i Food & Wine Festival invites chefs from around the world to whip up regional cuisine during the weeklong event held on Oahu, Maui and the Big Island. Guests can experience delicious locally-inspired dishes by chefs like Masaharu Morimoto, Stephen Durfee and Jenn Louis, but—for the first time—they are encouraged to do more with the pros, including working with them to restore an 800-year-old fishpond and cultivating taro, a local root vegetable. August 29 to September 7; 808-738-6245; hawaiifoodandwinefestival.com.