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September 12, 2012
By Ingrid Skjong | Food

A Twin Farms Fall Harvest
Courtesy Twin Farms

There are few better ways to celebrate the shift from summer to fall than with the edible bounty that rolls out this time of year. The annual Harvest to Table event (September 12–16) at Twin Farms in Barnard, Vermont, will no doubt put guests in an appropriately autumnal mind-set.

The weekend begins today with a tour of the Vermont Farmstead Cheese Company, a dairy farm in South Woodstock. (Jeffery Roberts, author of The Atlas of American Artisan Cheese, will lead.) Friday’s highlight is a romp through Fable Farm, a certified-organic vegetable, herb and flower CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) farm nestled in Barnard. Guests will have the opportunity to tote home its fresh produce.

Eating, of course, is the main event, with chef Ted Ask cooking throughout the weekend. Local ingredients and those from the Twin Farms garden are key. Past dishes have included slow-cooked salmon with scarlet-runner-bean purée, Fable Farm cherry tomatoes and eggplant, parsley, squash, black olive oil and parsley froth, and grilled beef strip loin with truffled Fable Farm potatoes, roasted cauliflower, Fable Farm brussels sprouts and carrots, thyme jus and peppercress. Delicious breads (roasted pumpkin-seed levain) and creative desserts (Fable Farm crimson carrot cake with Champlain Valley Creamery cream-cheese ice cream and Honey Gardens mead-poached raisins) delight even further.

Food aside, guests can also take advantage of all that Twin Farms has to offer on its 300 pastoral acres. Bike, fly-fish, canoe, run trails, swim, play tennis or relax in the Out of the Woods spa—and know that you are in for a culinary treat afterward. From $1,400; 452 Royalton Tpk.; 802-234-9999; twinfarms.com.

August 15, 2012
By Erin Schumaker | Food

Kahala Hotel & Resort Celebrates French Cuisine with Hawaiian Flair
Courtesy Kahala Hotel & Resort

The uncrowded beaches, soft sands and stunning coastal views of Hawaii’s Oahu island—along with the Kahala Hotel & Resort, which opened in 1964—has wooed privacy-seeking celebrities and dignitaries alike, including Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor. This month features its annual Kahala Food & Wine Festival, which has taken its guests on a whirlwind culinary tour in its four years, including New Orleans, Miami, Japan and, last year, Hollywood. This year it is a French celebration with Hawaiian flair, honoring Julia Child, who would have celebrated her 100th birthday on August 15.

The islands’ best chefs will square off in a recipe contest, reinterpreting classic French chocolate mousse with local ingredients and cooking techniques. The winning recipe will be featured on the menu at Hoku’s restaurant in the hotel. And for chefs in training, the Kahala is hosting the last of its three-part hands-on cooking series on August 25. Led by chef Michael Moorhouse, the final installment will focus on braising baby lettuce and bok choy along with teaching the French method of basting stuffed chicken legs. “We want the students to come away knowing how the dough feels in their hands, how sweet pastry cream tastes in their mouth and how critical timing is when braising delicate lettuce and vegetables,” says Moorhouse. Following the cooking class, newly minted chefs are honored with a graduation ceremony on the hotel’s veranda, where they can savor the fruits of their labor. Classes, $85 per person; rooms, from $450; 5000 Kahala Ave.; 808-739-8888; kahalaresort.com.

August 08, 2012
By Erin Schumaker | Food

A Foraging Dinner at Telluride’s Hotel Madeline
Courtesy of Hotel Madeline Telluride

For more than 30 years, foraging fans from all over the country have pilgrimaged to Telluride, a mountain town in southwestern Colorado, to take part in a weekend-long celebration of mushrooms. This year, in keeping with the tradition, the luxury mountain resort Hotel Madeline hosts its second annual Foraging Dinner on August 18.

Twenty guests will participate in a guided foraging hike led by local expert John Sir Jesse, who has been hunting for mushrooms in Telluride for more than 34 years. After the hike comes dinner, choreographed by the Madeline’s chef de cuisine, Bud Thomas, and his cooking team. Inspired by the day’s bounty, they will whip up a multicourse meal—served in the open air—incorporating foraged ingredients like wild arugula, onion and, of course, mushrooms, including shiitake, chanterelles and morels.

Thomas prefers to keep things vague when asked where his group forages (“Somewhere near Lizard Head Pass,” is all he will give away), and for good reason. “Mushrooming is a lot like panning for gold,” he says. “If you find gold you don’t want anyone else to know where it is. Once the mushrooms are picked, they’re gone—so we cherish our spots.”

Because the dishes are based on the day’s finds, they tend to have a spontaneous, whimsical quality, including one of Thomas’s favorite fall dishes: a play on Stroganoff, cooked with wild mushrooms, garlic, shallots, onions and truffle oil and served over asparagus confit. But for Thomas, the best part of the dinner is being one with nature at 10,000 feet. “We are literally going to sit down and eat where we foraged—right in the thick of it,” he says. “It’s like setting up a stove and table in the middle of the best farmers market in the world and just eating right there. It’s genuinely spectacular.” August 18 hike and dinner, $150; rooms, from $295; 568 Mountain Village Blvd.; 970-369-0880; hotelmadelinetelluride.com.

July 26, 2012
By Erin Schumaker | Hotel, Food

Rosewood hotel food
Photo courtesy Rosewood San Miguel de Allende

Chef Carlos Hannon, executive chef at Mexico’s Rosewood San Miguel de Allende, says his cooking has dual histories: one rooted in his culinary education, and one rooted in his family—particularly his grandmother, Elena. This week, he’s also connected to The Carlyle hotel, where he will be cooking a Taste of San Miguel de Allende menu, available during dinner hours through July 27.

The à la carte menu features appetizers like lobster ceviche with xni-pec sauce and crispy duck tostadas with queso fresco. Entrées include red snapper with potato buñuelo and veal glazed in mescal with cauliflower-vanilla puree and green beans. Dessert brings luxuriously rich artisan churros served with grandma’s very own chocolate sauce. Casa Dragones—a 100 percent blue-agave small-batch tequila from Jalisco, Mexico—complements the menu. But our favorite item? Perfectly cooked corn empanadas with crema de rancho and molcajete sauce, named after Grandma Elena. 35 E. 76 St.; 212-744-1600; rosewoodhotels.com.

June 27, 2012
By Ingrid Skjong | Food

Dan’s Taste of Two Forks Cooks in the Hamptons
Richard Lewin

There is no shortage of fabulous food in the Hamptons, and Dan’s Taste of Two Forks—held July 14 in Bridgehampton—proves just that. In its second year, the culinary extravaganza once again highlights fare from the North and South forks of Long Island, celebrating everything from knock-out seafood to scrumptious Italian delicacies. One of the summer’s hottest tickets (last year’s event sold out), the gathering will be hosted by renowned chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten and will include restaurants such as B. Smith in Sag Harbor, Nick & Toni’s in East Hampton, Nobu at Capri in Southampton and Greenport’s The Frisky Oyster. All in all it represents what the Hamptons does best: gather people for food and drink in a gorgeous setting to celebrate summer and everything that comes with it. “The biggest satisfaction for a chef and restaurateur is to see that look in people’s eyes after they tasted your dish,” says Vittorio Assaf, owner of Serafina East Hampton. “Like you gave them a big gift, like you made them a little happier. During these events many people taste our food, and that makes for a lot of happy eyes!” VIP admission with Champagne reception and toast (6:30 p.m.–7:30 p.m.), $225; general admission (7:30 p.m.–10:30 p.m.), $150. Sayre Park, 154 Snake Hollow Rd., Bridgehampton; 631-227-0188;

June 20, 2012
By Ingrid Skjong | Food

Food Festival Il Tovolo Debuts in Zurich
Courtesy The Dolder Grand

Il Tavolo, Zurich’s first-ever food festival, features a bit of the Mediterranean as well as Swiss haute cuisine as it takes over the city June 27 to July 1. Numerous five-star hotels and restaurants will participate, offering special menus and delicacies served (mostly) along the lovely Limmat River. Events include an opening night party at the Park Hyatt Zurich (June 27), a gala celebration in the courtyard of the National Museum Zurich (June 30) and a communal family breakfast (July 1). On June 29, executive chef Gion Fetz of The Dolder Grand hotel (Kurhausstrasse 65; 41-44/456-6000; thedoldergrand.com) will cook a gourmet lunch with a group of lucky children ($83; proceeds benefit local cause Pro Juventute Switzerland). All in all it promises to be a feast of not only delicious food but community togetherness as well. “The basic idea behind this summer culinary treat is a simple one: We want to show how much Zurich offers on the culinary front,” says Doris Fiala of Il Tavolo. “The festival’s main aim, though, is to bring people together at its long table to enjoy the specialties of its guest chefs and local kitchen stars alike. We are sure that it will be a truly unique experience.” June 27–July 1; il-tavolo.ch.

 

June 15, 2012
By Erin Schumaker | Food

Rao's on the Grill
Image courtesy St. Martin’s Press

One of New York’s most exclusive eateries is releasing its own cookbook just in time for summer. Rao’s on the Grill (St. Martin’s Press, $35)—courtesy of Rao’s Restaurant (455 E. 114th St.; 212-722-6709), the East Harlem gem that holds a mere ten tables and does one seating a night—features 80 pages brimming with favorite summer recipes and fresh twists on signature dishes from co-owner Frank Pellegrino’s family.

The legendary Neapolitan hot spot was a neighborhood secret for years until it exploded on to the culinary scene after a rave review in The New York Times in 1977. Known for its homespun Italian cooking and dance-inducing jukebox, Rao’s is a taste of old New York in all its uncomplicated elegance. Many regulars have standing reservations, meaning a yearlong wait for a table isn’t unusual—if you can get a reservation at all.

Thankfully, the book offers delicious recipes as a consolation. A few must-tries include delicate veal paillard chops with rosemary and capers served over arugula; bold and smoky grilled lemon chicken (a staple at the restaurant for decades); and grilled peaches with mascarpone mousse for dessert, which is simply timeless—just like Rao’s. us.macmillan.com

June 13, 2012
By Andrew Sessa | Food

Chefs Club Restaurant Opens in Aspen
Jason Dewey

Aspen’s annual Food & Wine Classic (June 15–17) celebrates 30 years this weekend, but some of the biggest buzz has centered on the arrival of Chefs Club, the restaurant opening June 14 at the newly renovated St. Regis Aspen Resort. The Classic—a three-day festival of food, drink and chefs produced by Food & Wine magazine—is giving Chefs Table a permanent roost of sorts in the mountains with a debut menu created by four winners of the Food & Wine Best New Chefs Award, and new offerings coming every six months by a new quartet of past winners.

This first menu features signature and seasonal dishes by James Lewis of Bettola in Birmingham, Alabama; George Mendes of Manhattan’s Aldea; Alex Seidel of Fruition Restaurant in Denver; and Sue Zemanick of Gautreau’s Restaurant in New Orleans. The concept allows intrepid diners to design their own tasting menus. Sample from the Big Easy (Zemanick’s citrus-poached shrimp) to the Big Apple (Mendes’ hand-cut duck-fat French fries) or from Birmingham (rabbit terrine and liver mousse by Bettola) to Denver (Colorado lamb saddle with ricotta gnocchi by Seidel).

The cocktails at Chefs Club are courtesy of Jim Meehan, proprietor of the classic-cocktail bar PDT in Manhattan and a Food & Wine contributing editor. Meehan created a ten-drink lineup featuring playfully named potables that are heavy on both historic inspiration and contemporary twists. The Forest Through the Trees, for instance, is an everyday Vodka Collins hit with a bracing dose of French Green Chartreuse and a rosemary garnish. Meehan’s recipes also dig into Aspen’s local bounty. Rocky Mountain Blackberry Liqueur—an offering by Leopold Bros., a small-batch distillery in Denver—finds its way into the Back Country Bramble (a classic London cocktail), while Leopold’s Rocky Mountain Peach Flavored Whiskey stars in the Colorado Comfort, a delicious sour. 315 E. Dean St.; 970-429-9581; chefsclubaspen.com.

May 15, 2012
By Ingrid Skjong | Food

Goose & Gander Restaurant Opens in Napa Valley
Courtesy Goose & Gander

Goose & Gander, a Napa Valley restaurant from restaurateur Andrew Florsheim, is poised to make a statement in its newly repurposed location. The eatery took over the iconic Martini House restaurant space, which closed in 2010. Though eager to preserve key aspects of the 90-year-old Craftsman-style bungalow, Florsheim set out to transform it into a cross between a public house (a nod to executive chef Kelly McCown’s Irish roots) and a duck club (duck paraphernalia punctuates the comfortable dark-wood interior). “We want our guests to come in for a quick drink and maybe a snack, or stay a while dining in an environment that is fun and makes them feel good,” says Florsheim.

McCown’s rustic, ingredients-focused cuisine is an excellent reason to settle in and stay a while. Snack on duck and chicken wings with fried pickles and spring green goddess or crispy escargot with Castelvetrano olives and garlic anchovy butter. Then dig into pan-roasted California halibut, hot skillet-roasted white prawns or the G&G burger (grass-fed beef, Gruyère cheese, house-smoked bacon) served with duck-fat fries. For dessert, try coconut cake with banana pastry cream, coconut ice cream or crème anglaise.

The restaurant’s landscaped garden will open after Memorial Day, hosting outdoor dining around a charming koi pond. But be sure to visit the Basement Bar, which Florsheim calls “near perfect.” Bar manager Scott Beattie turns out an impressive selection of drinks focused primarily on bourbon, Scotch and brown spirits, though seasonal cocktails, like the refreshing Cucumber Collins, make frequent appearances. 1245 Spring St., St. Helena, CA; 707-967-8779; goosegander.com.

May 08, 2012
By Francesca Giacco | Food

Kitchit Comes to New York
Maggie Marguerite

After successes in Los Angeles and San Francisco, Kitchit, which allows users to hire award-winning local chefs to create customized in-home dinner parties, launches this week in New York. The service collects information on budget, head count and desired cuisine, and then suggests a variety of chefs from New York’s hottest restaurants. The chosen chef will arrive at your home with ingredients and equipment (no food processor? no problem) to craft a multicourse meal. Need a mixologist or sommelier on hand for cocktail or wine pairings? That can also be arranged.

“Kitchit’s bespoke dining services take the stress and guesswork out of the dinner party, and makes it possible for our members to have access to the best chefs in the region,” explains Brendan Marshall, founder and CEO. The company’s West Coast roster includes top-tier chefs like Traci Des Jardins, executive chef of Jardinièe; Damon Stainbrook, former sous-chef at the French Laundry; and Ryan Baker, a Delfina alum. Kitchit’s migration to New York promises similar star quality, including Dan Kluger (ABC Kitchen), Anita Lo (Annisa) and Harold Dieterle (Perilla). From $30 per person; kitchit.com.

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