Archive for October, 2010
When we think of wine, countries like France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Argentina, Chile, and the United States are what comes to mind. These are the countries where vineyards are abundant and their grapes well know. But here’s one that will most likely throw most wine connoisseurs for a loop…look to Japan for your next bottle of fine white grape wines. Yes, you read correctly Japan.
While most of us know that Japan produces the best Sake in the world (rice wine), what I’m talking about here is a crisp white grape wine. Comparable to a German Riesling, Japan is now producing a fine white wine that is crisp, light, and dry, with subtle notes of citrus. The wine is made from grapes called Koshu. These grapes have a very bitter skin, but once carefully extracted, the fruit itself gives a unique flavor when fermented. It’s bottled in the Spring to be sold fresh and young, and much like French Beaujolais wine it has low alcohol content (10.5%). Think of it as the Japanese version of an upscale Beaujolais, if Beaujolais came from white grapes that is.
Currently sold around $20 and up for a bottle in Japan, it hasn’t made much of a mark on the countries wine drinkers. It’s a bit too expensive for the Japanese palette, for what it is apparently. But do not be discouraged, Koshu has been making a name for itself as of recent, finding its way onto restaurant menus in the United States and Europe.
“On a recent trip to Japan, Michael Cimarusti, the chef and owner of Providence in Los Angeles, tasted a koshu produced by Katsunuma Jyozo and was so impressed that he added it to the wine pairings on his tasting menu.” – Corie Brown for NYTimes
“After their first shipment to Europe this summer, the Japanese vintners involved in Koshu of Japan are hoping to gain international appreciation that would give Koshu cachet in Asia.” – Corie brown for NYTimes
One city that finds Koshu hard to sell is New York. It’s not a well know wine or grape. With bottle prices $50 and up on most restaurant wine lists, New Yorkers are more likely to go with a wine that they know. But I encourage everyone who loves wine to taste Koshu. It’s worth the money and once you taste it, you’ll start to wonder how it never made it on your select wine list before!
*Note: To read more about Koshu Wines from Japan, visit my What’s New? – NEWS page. http://amysuestastybites.com/page-8/news/
**How to Buy
For Ernest Singer’s Cuvée Denis Dubourdieu, $16 to $18, contact Robert Harmelin at Allied Beverage: firstname.lastname@example.org, (856) 234-4111.
For Katsunuma Jyozo’s koshu wines, $45 to $70, contact Toshio Ueno at Mutual Trading Company, toshio,email@example.com, (213) 626-9458.
The wines of Koshu of Japan are not now available in the United States. To find out when they will be, contact Lynne Sherriff at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 61 Albert Drive, London, England, SW19 6LB; (44-20) 87802937.
“Eating is Believing!” or in this particular case “Drinking is Believing!”
As of late there has been a revival of FOOD TRUCKS as well as their reinvention. You can find food trucks that serve fresh tacos with avocado crema, warm tamales with homemade mole sauce, piping hot pizza with cheese that stretches before it eventually snaps, a variety of Taiwanese dumplings -skins fried to a perfection, waffles – Brussels style with sugar rocks in the batter and dipped in dark chocolate or dusted with powered sugar, burgers that rival Shake Shack, lobster rolls so buttery and sweet that should be outlawed – they are so good, sweet cream ice cream that makes Mr. Softee look like an amateur, Niçoise sandwiches that take you back to the shores of France, Kobe hot dogs that puts the original water dog to shame, Schnitzel you’d swear your German grandmother made, curried goat and oxtail that would make any Jamaican proud, and desserts that range from brownies infused with Mexican chocolate and tequila, cupcakes that blow Magnolia away – who really waits in that crazy line anyway, to soft baked cookies that will make you coming back for more.
With so many types of food, you can bet they are all from new trucks. Adding that to the already numerous trucks serving coffee and donuts to middle eastern meats with rice or a side salad, that equates to more dirty air from the truck emissions and more gas being used in this city that’s air is already beginning to seem like LA. But there is one truck that stands out above the rest…and it’s not just the food they serve. Owned by Leslie Lampert, “The Ladle of Love” food truck (as it calls itself), is brand new and environmentally friendly. What’s that you say? A food truck with a conscience?
Costing $92,500 The Ladle of Love is not your average food truck that’s for sure. This truck is powered by an electric engine, can travel up to 40 miles before it needs to be re-powered again from a three prong plug, and runs up to 25 miles per hour. It may not be the fastest truck out there, but who cares! In this day and age, if it helps the environment I’m definitely all for it! It also carries low-polluting propane tanks that run the two stove burners and has a steam table in it’s mini-kitchen. All the containers that are used to pack the food are made of corn and vegetable products, including the forks, spoons, and others. Once used, they can be recycled and are compostable.
“Better than biodegradable,” Ms. Lampert said. “Just don’t eat them,” she added with a laugh. – Glenn Collins for NYTimes Diner’s Journal
Constructed by Allacart Manufacturing in Columbus, Ohio, this custom made food vehicle arrived two Saturdays ago in Central Park on a flatbed truck. In comparison with a conventional gasoline-powered food truck, over the course of a year, the Ladle truck will save 1,193 gallons of oil and emit 188 fewer pounds of air pollutants into New York’s atmosphere.
“Beyond that, “we are all farm-to-truck,” Ms. Lampert said of Ladle’s provender, which “comes as much as possible from local growers. Some of it is certified organic and all of it is honest — no pesticides.” – Glenn Collins for NYTimes Diner’s Journal
Menu items include beef stew ($6.50), mushroom barley soup ($6) and goat-cheese salad ($7). All recipes hail from Ladle of Love Restaurant that sits up in Mount Kisko, NY which she opened as a salad and sandwich shop seven years ago. It has since expanded to include “Cafe of Love”, a French-American bistro, which can seat up to 68 patrons.
So if you happen to find yourself going for a morning stroll or a weekend afternoon run through Central Park, be on the lookout for Ladle of Love. It’s the only food truck in NYC to date that is Eco friendly and a definite “hit”!
Note: If you would like to read more about NYC Food Trucks, visit my What’s New? – NEWS page. http://amysuestastybites.com/page-8/news/
“Eating is Believing!”
If you have been wondering who would be occupying the space that was formerly CRU on Fifth Avenue, wonder no more. Lotus of Siam is taking a stake and a gamble on expanding their restaurant that sits in Vegas to Gotham City (NYC).
“Ten years ago Jonathan Gold, writing in Gourmet, called Lotus of Siam the best Thai restaurant in North America.” ~ Florence Fabricant for NYTimes
It’ll take some time for that to happen in this city, as others have tried what Bill and Saipin Chutima, the owners of Lotus of Siam, are trying to do….making a name for themselves in a city where restaurant critics and patrons are known to be harsh. Saipin Chutima does all the cooking and her husband Bill does all the talking. Cooking about a third of what their Vegas menu offers, Saipin hopes to stand out among all the other Thai restaurants in NYC (and there are a lot!).
“The Chutimas are shipping ingredients to New York, like wing beans with ruffled edges, turmeric root and rau rum, a slender herb that is at once pungently soapy and spicy. Mrs. Chutima toasts and grinds spices herself, making mixtures of coriander and cumin for noodle dishes.” ~Florence Fabricant for NYTimes
Hailing from Lampoon Thailand, Mrs. Chutima will be bringing a new flavor of Thai to town. Lampoon is in the northern part of Thailand in a region called Isan. The food there is know to have influences of Chinese and Burmese mixed in with traditional Thai. Having sampled a large number of Thai restaurants in NYC, the Chutimas know what they are up against. But what they have taken to heart is the advice of what and how “New Yorkers” eat. Instead of using her regular choice of beef, Saipin will be cooking with meat supplied by Neiman Ranch. Patrons of their Las Vegas restaurant have also told them that Amish and “Belle Rouge” chicken is the choice to stock their poultry needs.
Also something to look forward to is Lotus of Siam’s wine list (I’m thinking the old wine cellar at CRU came in handy). Though the location in NYC will not nearly have as many as the 600 plus bottle offered in Vegas, they will be trying to keep the prices lower than most other restaurants. The one in Vegas currently has prices that are almost the same as retail! Focusing mainly on German Rieslings, Mrs. Chutima doesn’t know the name of them, but what she does know is what bottle pairs well with each of her dishes.
I’m excited for Lotus of Siam to open early next month! By the looks of it, this may just turn out to be my new favorite Thai restaurant! All signs point to GREAT!
Lotus of Siam, 24 Fifth Avenue (Ninth Street); (212) 529-1700.
*Note: To read the full article from NYTimes, visit my What’s New? – NEWS page. http://amysuestastybites.com/page-8/news/
‘Eating is Believing!”
Most of us will choose a restaurant based on the main courses and wine list. But with dessert taking “front and center” at Osteria Morini, it’s an unexpected and delightful surprise. Located in Soho NYC on Lafayette Street, Morini is owned and operated by Chef Michael White. While his pasta and meat dishes are exceptionally delicious, you’ll want to also take a closer look at his dessert menu and his Pastry Chef, Heather Bertinetti.
“At just 25 years old, Heather Bertinetti oversees the sugared and yeasted operations at four of Michael White’s and Chris Cannon’s restaurants: Alto, Convivio, Marea and, now, Morini. “When I was a line cook at Per Se,” she recalls of her days working with Capizzi and co., “I never thought this would happen in three years.” She always knew she wanted to be a pastry chef, even while eating her childhood communion cake from her family’s local go-to, Carlo’s City Hall Bake Shopin Hoboken, N.J.
Submerge a spoon in the Italian jam jar that holds a serving of her panna cotta. In the cylindrical vessel, the Italian staple reads almost like a pot de crème. It’s enhanced by a layer of strawberry marmalade plus an unexpected burst of citrus from macerated supremes of orange. It’s irresistible and innovative. Same goes for the morning’s scones, filled with pancetta and Gorgonzola. (“It’s a double pig-to-dough ratio,” she confessed.) There’s nothing fancy in the offering, but it delivers a torpedo of savory dynamite: smoky, nutty and pungently blue-cheesy.”~TMagazine Charlotte Druckman
So next time you’re in Soho and planning on walking around shopping in the afternoon, stop in at Osteria Morini for a doppio of espresso and a taste of Pastry Chef Heather Bertinetti’s savory scones or strawberry jam panna cotta. It’s a fabulous “pick me up”, perfect for an afternoon of shopping in Soho AND your taste buds will thank you!
218 Lafayette St
(between Kenmare St & Spring St)
New York, NY 10012
*Note: Osteria Morini is open for breakfast, lunch, brunch and dinner. Dinner service begins every night at 5:30 p.m. and runs through until 1:00 a.m.
“Eating is Believing!”
It’s Tuesday, October 26th, 2010 and I have 2 wonderful people to honor today! It’s my Grandfather’s birthday according to to the Chinese Calendar. Sadly he passed away this past Spring in March, but I think about him every day and miss him so much.
It’s also my 2nd oldest sister, Fin’s birthday! So when thinking about what to write for today’s post, I asked my sister if she would share with me a recipe for a wonton soup she once made from scratch. I know my grandfather would have loved it and would have been proud of Fin’s Homemade Wonton Soup. Growing up my sisters and I would sit around the kitchen table and help our mom fill wonton wrappers full of ground pork and shrimp. Mine always came out a little funny looking, but tasted just as good as the nice looking ones. I’m glad my sister Fin is carrying on the tradition and making wonton soup for her friends to enjoy!
In Taiwan, wonton’s are called “Whun Duen”. They are filled with a ground pork, fish, shrimp, or seafood mixture that also usually contains chives or cabbage. You can find them at any food stand, morning or night market, and sit down restaurants too. They are eaten either dry (which means no soup) with fried shallots and soy sauce, or in a light pork based broth with bean sprouts. On a cold Autumn’s day, it’s a great way to warm you up and fill your stomach too!
To see what ingredients you’ll need to make Fin’s Homemade Wonton Soup, visit my RECIPES page. Simply put, your family and friends will be so impressed they’ll think you ordered it from your favorite Chinese restaurant! http://amysuestastybites.com/page-3/
“Eating is Believing!”
Monday mornings are always hard after a fun and relaxing weekend. Here’s a couple of events to cure your Monday blues if you’re in the NYC area. Because Monday is “Fun Day”, you can head over after work . There’s nothing like a wine expo (on Italy’s finest white, amber, pink, and reds) or an evening of hops with beer tasting to help you start off your work week with a little cheer!
To get the 411 on Italy’s Wine Expo happening today at Eataly, visit my What’s New? – LOCAL EVENTS page. All ticket sales benefit the American Cancer Society. http://amysuestastybites.com/page-8/
Or if you’re feeling like hops is more your style, head across the bridge to Park Slope Brooklyn and grab yourself a seat at Beer Table. You’ll learn how hops are grown, how to brew your own amber liquid at home, and of course sip (or gulp if you prefer) some delicious ice cold beers. Visit my What’s New? - LOCAL EVENTS page to get the 411 on Beer Table’s Evening of Hops. http://amysuestastybites.com/page-8/
The weather might be cooling down a bit as of late, but with highs still reaching the mid 60′s for today, you might just want to head over the bridge and into Brooklyn. Blue Marble Ice Cream is opening it’s doors for the last time today in Boerum Hill. Located at 420 Atlantic Avenue and Bond Street, Blue Marble Ice Cream is hosting an ice cream party today, Sunday October 24th, 2010. There will be food, sparkling wine, and of course ice cream! But don’t be too sad that the owners of this lovely ice cream shop have closed their doors because they are now setting up shop in Rwanda called Sweet Dreams, a non-profit venture of Blue Marble Ice Cream. They will be working with the women of Butare, Rwanda to create the country’s FIRST EVER ice cream shop! And even though it’s a plane ride away, just know that anytime you are in that part of the world, you can always feel a little bit of home (NYC) at Sweet Dreams.
Tickets for the “all you can stuff your face full, drink to your hearts content, and lick as many cones as your tongue can stand” are going for $25 per person. And at $50 per family, you can make this a really fun “Sundaes on Sunday” event! The party starts at 7 – 11pm so get there early or else you might just end up having to book a trip to Rwanda if you want to get another taste of Blue Marble Ice Cream!
Blue Marble Ice Cream
420 Atlantic Avenue
“Eating is Believing!”
Remember when you were a kid and your elementary school would have bake sales? I always loved those days where we would bring in home-baked sweet treats and display them on an extra long table. This set up would usually take place around the school cafeteria or front office. There would be trays of rich brownies with frosting and walnuts, cupcakes piped high with sugary butter cream or store bought icing, sugar cookies with different colored sprinkles, chocolate chip cookies in odd shapes and sometime with icing sandwiched in between, and cookie bars filled with raisins and chocolate chips. Some of these were store bought, but most were made by your friend’s mothers. All of course made with lots of love and care!
If you were lucky, you had a friend (or two) who’s mom was an exceptional baker. This mom would always make something delicious that was most likely an original recipe. You would take your money saved in your piggy bank and with excitement head to school that day knowing you’d get an extra special sugar high in the afternoon!
I remember one year I helped my mom make vanilla and chocolate cupcakes with strawberry and dark chocolate frosting. I took extra care when using the electric mixer and didn’t waste one lick of batter. I let the cupcakes cool completely before I began icing the fluffy little cakes with a butter knife. I would swirl the strawberry flavored icing with the flick of my wrist across the soft mound of the chocolate cupcakes. I would then do the same with the dark chocolate, frosting every inch of the vanilla tops. This was my favorite part of making cupcakes. Then with a light dip of the round multi colored sprinkles or some colored sugar crystals, the cupcakes were done. They were always good enough to eat right then and there. It was so hard for me not to sneak one that would “by accident” have a cupcake top fall off while frosting it. And at the end of the school day, I would pick up my empty cupcake container…a great sign that your sweet treats were enjoyed and loved by your school mates! My mom would see my empty box upon arrival at home, and with a smile on her face she would know (without saying a word) that she had guided me well.
These days cupcakes are still the craze. From the first bakery opened solely for cupcake lovers in NYC (Magnolia Bakery) to the latest one in Chinatown,( rightly named “EVERYTHING FROSTED”) cupcakes seem to be a trend that’s not fading anytime soon. I’ve bought, eaten, and tasted every NYC cupcake bakery there is to date. All but one…Everything Frosted. A recent article in the NYTimes brought this tiny shop to my attention. Located on Mosco Street in Chinatown, it’s a bit hard to find, but worth the search according to Florence Fabricant of NYTimes. John Wu is the owner and cupcake master of Everything Frosted. He boasts a nice resume having worked with the White House Pastry Chef, Bill Yosses (when Bill was at Citarella and Joseph at Rockefeller Center). Chef Wu has personalized his cupcakes with an Asian flare by incorporating flavors unique to that area of the world. The flavors are delicate as Asians do not like their cakes too sweet and subtle hints of flavor is always better than one that packs a punch. His cakes are moist with flavors like chocolate, red velvet, and vanilla. But do not mistake these cakes for common, as Chef Wu has fine tuned them to compliment his unique butter creams. Green tea, Jasmine, Red Bean, and Black Sesame are all readily found in Asian bakeries, but this is the first I’ve heard or seen them in a NYC cupcake shop. Everything Frosted also has a specialty, they make green tea cheesecakes. Asian cheesecakes are very different from the traditional NY Style or Italian Cheesecakes. They are light and fluffy like the Italian cheesecakes, but smooth and creamy like the NY Style Cheesecake. It’s definitely a must try for anyone who has never had Asian Cheesecake and with a green tea flavor…I’ll be buying at least one!
With prices that range from $1.50 to $3.00 each for a cupcake, I foresee a trip down to Chinatown to visit Chef Wu really soon! I’ve been know to buy as little as 2 dozen cupcakes the first time I’m reviewing a new bakery…so I hope Chef Wu will be prepared!
*Note: To read the full article from NYTimes on Chef John Wu and his cupcake bakery “Everything Frosted” in Chinatown NY, visit my What’s New? – NEWS page. http://amysuestastybites.com/page-8/news/
“Eating is Believing!”
When I was a little girl, one year for Halloween my mom made my sister Linda and I our costumes. I was a princess and Linda was an angel. I remember going to the fabric store and picking out the pattern design, the tulle, satin, and lace. Linda tried on her angel wings, got some flower wire, and Christmas tinsel in silver for her halo. My mom worked really hard and the costumes came out beautiful! I was so proud to wear it and remember never wanting to take it off.
I think I was around 5 or 6 years old at that time and just beginning to really enjoy the Halloween festivities. We had friends over and had ourselves a little party after ”trick or treating” in our neighborhood for candy. Since Bobbing for Apples is a Halloween tradition, we had that too, but I was young back then. I remember not wanting to stick my face in a tub full of water. So my mom tied some kitchen twine around the apples and pinned them to our ceiling. Smart lady right? I was able to tilt my head sideways and open my mouth just big enough to take a bite!
Now that I’m older, Halloween parties are a bit different. I no longer bob for apples and the costumes I’ve donned over the years are all store bought…mom retired her sewing machine years ago. But one thing that did survive through the years is my love of apples and Halloween treats! I love walking into a store and down the candy isles. My eyes light up as I peruse the many large bags, filled with different kinds of sugary treats. They smell so wonderful…the chocolate, mixed with the milk nougats, the nuts coated in caramel, Dum Dum lollipops, and handful of pink bubble gum individually bound in their wax wrappers. That’s the smell of Halloween.
This Halloween I thought of what better way to pay homage to the Apple Season, Halloween, and my fond memories of that party my mom hosted back then, than to give you some recipes for Candy Apples. Though you can find them in many chocolate shops all year long, around this time of year is when they really start to sell. You’ll find the pre-packaged variety coated in the classic red candy or with caramel and nuts in your local grocery store or food market. They also have take home boxes so you can make your own, either with sheets of ready made caramel that you wrap around the apple or packets of a red sugar mixture that will harden and glisten as it dries. Both are okay if you’re an amateur and looking to make quick candy apples. But if you’re a conesuer you’ll want to head to a fancy chocolate shops where I’m sure they’ve been on display for a few weeks now.
The best though is to make your own from scratch. It’s easier than it looks and is really a fun event if you get your kids or your friends to do it with you. They’re a nice take home present for a Halloween Costume Party and you can wrap them in colored cellophane or use clear Halloween Candy bags, tie with a pretty ribbon (plastic if you’re looking at budget -a roll goes for around $.25 to $.99…or satin for a fancier/glamour look). They display nicely and are always a crowd-pleaser. I’m not sure the “apple a day keeps the dentist away ” will apply to these apples, but that’s what the dentist is for anyhow!
To get my recipes for Amy Sue’s Sticky Sweet Candy Apples, visit my RECIPES page and head to your nearest grocery store today! It’s almost Halloween and times a-wasting! http://amysuestastybites.com/page-3/
“Eating is Believing!”
As the temperatures slowly begin to dip further down the thermometer scale, we begin to fill up our medicine cabinets with cold remedies, cough drops, vitamin c and zinc tablets, and other kinds of items you can find at your local drug store and pharmacy. While it’s a safe bet for us to stock up on various products before the “cold and flu season” begin, we should also take the time to look in our refrigerator and pantry too. While many of us are so busy with our every day lives, eating healthy usually takes a back burner to our hectic schedules.
Our health is something that should always be carefully look after, because as the saying goes “if you don’t have your health, you have nothing”. Take care of your health by feeding your body nutritious foods. You will not only feel better, but also have lots of energy throughout your day. Stock up on this season’s fruits and vegetables, which are chuck full of natural vitamins. It’s ”just what the doctor ordered”… and me too!
Here’s a simple and healthy recipe for a Hearty Turkey & Vegetable Chili Stew that’s sure to warm your insides on the most chilly of days. It’s full of vegetables, and just the right amount of lean protein to get your energy going! Packed full of flavor, this keeps well in your fridge in an air tight container for about a week or in your freezer for about a month. It’s also great over whole wheat pasta, or if you’re looking for a richer meal, mix it with some Celletani or mini shells, top with a generous amount of grated Sharp Cheddar, Gruyere cheese, and crumbled corn bread. You’ll have yourself a casserole that you can pop into the oven at 350 degrees and will be ready to serve in about 20 mins.
Visit my RECIPE Page to get the list of ingredients you’ll need to make my Hearty Turkey & Vegetable Chili Stew and ‘how to directions’. http://amysuestastybites.com/page-3/
**Note: If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, you can omit the ground turkey and replace with Trader Joe’s Soy Chorizo. It’s delicious and doesn’t compromise the taste of the original recipe. I’ve tried this as well, and it’s guaranteed to please!
“Eating is Believing!”
amy sue :)