Donna talked me into a little pre-holiday NYC splurge with Claudia and Michael (Chef Pardus if you’ve read Making of a Chef) this past weekend and we truly indulged, did nothing but eat and drink and nap for 24 hours, and oh man did I learn something from three of the city’s best restaurateurs. Our room was not ready when we got in, so Donna and I strolled over to Beacon where wood roasted oysters were the perfect accompaniment to a Hendricks martini.  The city air was cold and fresh, and the holiday lights made the dark afternoon feel festive and hopeful. Our first dinner was at Minetta Tavern, a place I’ve wanted to go to for months, being a huge huge fan of Keith McNally restaurants, Balthazar and Pastis especially.  Being in a McNally Read On »

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Noma in Copenhagen, Denmark is the world’s top restaurant led by Chef Rene Redzepi.  Learn about gastronomic explorers, the inter-relation of botany and weather, and how Redzepi became who he is, via Independent UK.

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Opening menu development for Next.  Paris 1906.  Watch Grant Achatz and Dave Beran work on one possible dish for Next, via Next Restaurant.

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A year ago, I drove a couple hours south of Cleveland to a strip mall off Interstate 71 to film part of an episode of Bourdain’s “No Reservations” heartland episode, at a stellar Japanese restaurant called Kihachi (google map it, look at all the parking lots and new housing developments). During the meal Bourdain, I made an off-handed remark about how extraordinary to find a restaurant of this caliber in the heart of Applebee’s country.  That was it, that was all!  And it’s still how I still see it, namely that strip malls off interstates, miles from any actual metropolis, is, indeed, Applebee’s country. Regrettably, this episode of the show featured Columbus, Ohio, the state capital, home of OSU and the Buckeyes, and the good people of this heartland city, eager for the national spotlight Read On »

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For all the interest in food, chefs, and restaurants, the popularity of “Top Chef” and other shows depicting professional restaurant work, most poeple still have no clear conception of the unique, bizarre, intense, exhalted, depraved, mysterious human stew that restaurants are. Yesterday, New York Times writer Ron Lieber blogged about being kicked out of Marc Forgione’s New York City restaurant.  Disturbed by the chef’s protracted yelling at a member of the staff, he marched back to the kitchen to tell the chef what for. The upshot was that Mr. Lieber was asked to leave. (It’s a good post, read it.) Mr. Lieber asked for comment on the blog. Times restaurant critic Sam Sifton called attention to it on Twitter, to which I gave a loud guffaw at Mr. Lieber’s act.  He could have been dressed Read On »

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