Dining Less Dangerously

New gluten meter makes restaurant experiences easier to navigate
By Amanda Schuster

Nima Gluten Free response meter

“How allergic are you?” That’s a question commonly asked to those afflicted with gluten, celiac disease and other food allergies. For many, there is no such thing as a mild gluten sensitivity – if you have one, you really have one, and even the slightest speck of it can cause severe reactions, which often take the form of violent intestinal distress that can last for days. It’s a question Shireen Yates was tired of being asked whenever she inquired about foods she wanted to eat. The pleasure of eating something that looked delicious and sounded deceptively safe could often lead to those reactions.

Even if chefs are positive no ingredients containing gluten or soy go into a dish prepared for a guest with sensitivities, there might be other triggers within those ingredients or the kitchen itself they are unaware of. For this reason and countless others, eating food Yates didn’t have full control over had become a stressful game of gluten roulette. She knew she wasn’t alone with this predicament, so, along with a team of fellow MIT scientists, she invented Nima, a sensor that determines whether a food contains any level of gluten.

As the website states, the device is akin to a “pregnancy test for gluten.” Yates explains, “Imagine taking a sample of food, putting it in a one-time use capsule and using that capsule as a sensor. Then you’ll know if the food you are testing contains the proteins you’re looking for. There’s also an app component so you can share what you tested with a community of people. Imagine all these data points people are aggregating about whether something in a packaged food or a restaurant food contains gluten. We’re accumulating data that just doesn’t exist today.”

Nima Low Gluten indicator

She stresses, however, that although the tested morsel might be read as safe, that doesn’t necessarily mean that an entire plate or all of that muffin, etc. is guaranteed to be unaffected. It’s still a good place to start. One of the reasons that so much food comes into question is that the person preparing it doesn’t fully understand what causes the symptoms of Celiac or gluten allergies and might use an ingredient that contains the reaction-causing protein, such as an everyday soy sauce, in a dish that is otherwise free of other more obvious substances containing gluten, such as wheat flour. Or a dish might be prepared entirely with ingredients that are guaranteed to be gluten-free, but has been accidentally cross-contaminated with something that isn’t.

There has been quite a bit of testing since Nima was developed. “People who have been using it every step of the way have been giving us extensive feedback. What we’ve found through numerous tests is that many dishes that are presented as gluten-free have been coming up positive for gluten.”

Therefore, not only is Nima useful for anyone suffering from these sensitivities, it’s also a pragmatic tool for chefs and the packaged food industry to better understand the protocol for preparing something that is safely gluten-free. “Now that they have data suggesting foods that are supposed to be gluten-free aren’t, maybe restaurants should post a warning that they can’t guarantee cross-contamination. They should change the language of how they communicate what’s in their food,” says Yates.

Yates is also developing other devices that aid those with specific dietary concerns. “We’re in development for peanuts (our hope is to launch that by the end of next year), dairy, and basically all the major allergens that people care about. Moving beyond that, we’re also interested in pesticides and fats and salt and sugar – things in our diet that are causing some of the main health issues we’re experiencing. We just don’t have a lot of transparency about our food. We have a few data points from doctors’ offices and nutritionists, but connecting all of this is really important to control what we’re putting in our bodies. It gives us a better understanding about what’s in our food.”

For all of us, eating should be a pleasurable experience, and not a decision that teeters on a dangerous precipice. Hopefully the Nima sensor and subsequent devices can help restore a peaceful state of mind to diners when it comes to nutrition, and provide a better understanding to chefs and servers about food communicating with customers about allergies.

The product can be purchased here: https://shop.nimasensor.com/products/nima-starter-kit.

EAT HERE NOW – ST. AUGUSTINE

St. Augustine trial edit photo

You’ve gotta figure that if a town has been around for 451 years, as St. Augustine has been, there’s an awful lot there you need, and want, to see, explore and experience when you visit the oldest town in America. Remember your elementary school days and those social studies classes where you spent time learning about Ponce de Leon and the Fountain of Youth? It’s there. Yep, right there in St. Augustine. And you can taste it (no, it doesn’t taste like chicken). Got a thing for railroads and old forts? This country’s first are in St. Augustine.

But this charming Florida town isn’t just about the history you studied in school. St. Augustine, with its blend of Spanish influenced architecture, is exceptionally well laid out for walking and exploring. It boasts Flagler College, one of the most beautiful settings you could imagine for expanding your mind and a dining hall like no other, Victorian houses, a relaxing waterfront that warrants a stroll, pirate ships, a craft distillery (more on that in a moment), 100+ year old trees, the World Golf & Hall of Fame Museum, a schooner for twilight sails, and Florida’s oldest planned cemetery with plots dating back to 1565.

St Augustine Spanish architecture building Flagler College angle close up

Lodging, drinking and dining options are plenty but the best way to take advantage of St. Augustine is to book into one of the charming B&B’s like the Bayfront Marin House (below) where you’ll take your breakfast facing the water, or in a hammock.
St Augustine official BMH Bay Shot Bayfront Marin House

Whatever seat you choose you’ll want to make it home base for the duration of your stay, especially when your stay involves checking out the newly launched Florida Citrus cocktail trail.

Here’s what the locals hope you’ll enjoy:

Philip McDaniel – Owner & Distiller at St.
Augustine Distillery suggests you try:

The Floridian

thefloridianstaug.com

Owned by husband and wife, Genie and Jeff McNally, The Floridian is a
two-story eclectic eatery featuring Southern comfort food. The restaurant’s
menu changes based on the seasons and what ingredients can be attained from
local purveyors including CartWheel Ranch Meats, Sweet Grass Dairy, tempeh,
local shrimp and fish, and produce such as strawberries, blueberries and
greens. Personal favorites include Fried Green Tomato Bruschetta, Cornbread
Stack, Shrimp ‘N Grits and anything with their pimento cheese.

Ice Plant Bar

iceplantbar.com

Housed in a renovated ice plant from the turn-of-the-century, next door to
St. Augustine Distillery, is Ice Plant Bar. Established a little over two
years ago, Ice Plant features one of the top craft cocktail bar programs in
the Southeast. They also make all of their own ice by freezing purified
water in large blocks and cutting it into six different formats. The drink
and food menus change seasonally, but some tried and true favorites include
their smoked fish dip with grilled sourdough bread and pickled okra, soft
pretzel bread with beer cheese fondue and dijonnaise, half-pound burger with
hand cut fries, and roasted local beet salad.

The Present Moment Café

thepresentmomentcafe.com

An organic, vegetarian café that specializes in the preparation of
unprocessed living gourmet food, Present Moment has become one of the
preeminent raw restaurants in the country. Owned by Yvette and Nathan
Schindler, try the eatery’s Tacos of Life with pine nut and walnut pate,
Sunlight Burger topped with caramelized onions, and Pad Thai with sweet and
spicy Asian vegetables served over kelp noodles.

Other notable restaurants include:

O’Steen’s Restaurant

osteensrestaurant.com

St. Augustine institution that always has a line out the door. Known for
their fried shrimp. They only take cash.

The Back 40 Urban Café

back40cafe.com

Where the locals eat. Located off the beaten path, Back 40 has an acclaimed
taco happy hour. Check out their wet burrito, which equates to two to three
meals in one.

Since man doesn’t live on delicious hot breakfasts and afternoon wine & cheese hours at a B&B Sandy Wieber, Owner, Bayfront Marin House, likes to send her guests to:

Cap’s on the Water

Most people don’t find Cap’s on their first visit, but
it’s well worth seeking out. Located just a few miles outside of the
historic district, on Vilano Beach, Cap’s is old Florida-from their live
oaks to their private dock, perfect for accessing the restaurant from the
water. Sit on the waterfront deck and ask about the fresh catch, which is
usually served in a variety of preparations. Open for dinner every night,
and lunch on Saturday and Sunday. Call for directions-it can be tricky! 4325
Myrtle Street, St. Augustine. (904) 824-8794. www.capsonthewater.com

Café Alcazar. Located in the center of town, Café Alcazar is not so much on
the water as it’s in it. The restaurant is in the deep end of a historic
indoor swimming pool, at one time the largest in Florida, and the center of
Henry Flagler’s lovely Alcazar Hotel. Today live music, not water, fills the pool, and
guests enjoy a casual lunchtime menu of sandwiches and soups. Order any of
the paninis with sweet purple onions-they will send you off the deep end.
Open for lunch daily, and a monthly dinner service on First Fridays. 25
Granada Street, St. Augustine (inside the Lightner Museum). (904)825-9948.
www.thealcazarcafe.com

St Augustine Ice Plant truck image

The Ice Plant
Climb the stairs to this bar/restaurant, and you will feel
like you’re going back in time. Back to a time when the men wore suspenders,
and the smooth frozen water was cut or chipped by hand. Enjoy the craft
cocktails, but don’t drink too much-you’ll want to save room for the
restaurant’s fine local fare, like the ½ pound meatloaf sandwich made from
grass-fed Georgia beef, and the bacon fat braised meatballs, with tomato jam
and balsamic onions. Located next to the St. Augustine distillery, which
offers free tours and samples throughout the day. The bar is open every day
from 11:30 til late night. 100 Riberia Street, St. Augustine. (904)829-6553.
www.iceplantbar.com and www.staugustinedistillery.com.

Crucial Coffee
If you prefer your water with beans, stop by this little
wooden building right across from the fort. Try the smooth brewed coffee, a
fancier macchiato, or the even fancier desserts in their glass case. Wait
for your favorite cup in the adjoining garden area-it’s the perfect place to
slow down in St. Augustine and enjoy the breeze off the water. Open daily.
26 Charlotte Street, St. Augustine. (904)810-2080.

And, for more about that cocktail trail…

http://staugustine.com/living/sunday-life/2016-08-13/find-florida-sunshine-a
nd-spirits-newly-launched-a1a-cocktail-trail

http://www.floridacitrus.org/oj/news/a1acocktailtrail/

St Augustine double oaks shot

WHISKIES WASH OVER MANHATTAN

Not to Be Missed Annual Spirits Conference and Whisky Live Return to New York City
By Glenn Haussman

Whisky Live men in kilts drinking

Hey, whisk(e)y lovers, next week is the week to get your whisky (and spirits) on in New York City.

Whiskies and Spirits Conference 2016 logo

First, on February 23rd, come explore all things whiskies and spirits at the annual Whiskies and Spirits Conference where, along with tastes of winning North American whiskies awarded accolades from the World Whisky Awards sponsored by Whisky Magazine, you can expect no-holds barred conversations, tough questions answered with candor, and a roadmap to brand success at the annual Whiskies and Spirits Conference. This kind of unvarnished conversation that doesn’t happen anywhere else which explains why so many spirits industry leaders take the day off to gather here. and thoroughly explore the state and growth of their products along with challenges, successes and future plans for building, positioning, marketing and growing their brands.

Kicking off with an in depth state of the industry report, there’s also an array of leading speakers and panelists such as Heaven Hill, DISCUS, KDA, ACSA, along with marketing experts sharing and exploring trends and business tactics focusing on the leading players and the emerging upstarts.

According to David Sweet, President USA and Canada Whisky Live USA, Whiskies & Spirits Conference USA, and Sr. VP North America Whisky Magazine, this event is very different than anything else. Take its partnership with the Stave & Thief Bourbon Steward program, and the Malt Advocate program by Diageo, for example.

“These are the two premier instructional programs in the world that truly teach an in depth deconstruction of that specific spirit. The sessions will [demystify whisky] teach attendees how to develop a true appreciation of quality, craftsmanship,” says Sweet. “This next level of understanding has to be taught, it is not just developed over time.”

Whisky Live glass on empty black graded background

The following day, after all this information is absorbed and the World Whisky Awards’ winning brands have been feted and sipped, the doors open to Whisky Live, the world’s preeminent whisky tasking event. It touches down in New York for the 12th year in a row and is the must attend event of the year for whisky lovers, no matter what stage of your appreciation journey you may be on.

From whisky neophytes to those well versed in the spirit, the February 24th event is a not to be missed opportunity for a deeper educational experience wrapped around preeminent tastings from leading and emerging brands. Plus, there’s great food too. More intimate than other events of its kind, you’ll never see a more in depth event that also provides inside access to the business side of the whisky world.

With a four hour event there’s some time to slip away from your booth and share perspectives with fellow industry insiders who revel in this category’s success, identify and discuss challenges and are finding new ways to heighten the success of whisky with customers. There’s no better way than Whisky Live to tap into preeminent minds within the category and hear about brand perspectives and segment earnings; everyone is open to exchanging valuable information as the whisky flows. Be part of candid conversations while exploring insights and trends for this ever-burgeoning business. All while sipping great world whiskies and sharing them with potential customers and colleagues.

Also included is Authors’ Row, a brand new experience curated by Greenlight Bookstore, featuring whisky experts Lew Bryson, Peter Fornatale, Heather Greene, David Haskell, Dane Huckelbridge, Jaime Joyce, Fred Minnick, Clay Risen, and Noah Rothbaum, who are signing copies of their latest books which are available at the show. Plus pop-ups from local bars Daddy-O, American Whiskey, Fool’s Gold, Ward III and others to sample signature cocktails and private label pours.

Whisky Live which takes place at Chelsea Piers Pier 60 offers more than 300 of the world’s best whiskies side by side and hear the stories behind them as told by master distillers, brand ambassadors and industry experts.

VIP Tickets to Whisky Live New York are $189 and include early access at 5:30 PM, an exclusive VIP tasting room with select exclusive bottlings available throughout the night (many not readily available in the US market), a signature, cut crystal Glencairn tasting glass, event program and a one-year subscription to Whisky Magazine.

General admission tickets are priced at $139 and for those ticket holders, doors open at 6 PM. The ticket price includes an event program and a souvenir Glencairn tasting glass.

For more information, and to remain updated on Master Class topics and new exhibitors, please visit the New York page at www.whiskyliveusa.com.

For more information about the annual Whiskies and Spirits Conference, please visit www.whiskiesandspiritsusa.com.

OH HOLY NIGHT, IT’S NOT TOO LATE

Last minute holiday gifts that still say “I care”
By Francine Cohen

Lewis Bag Sample Pic 1 with bottle in it.jpg

People, do not despair.

Yes, Christmas is just 48 hours away, and yes that means that unless you have an in with the big guy in the red suit you’ve probably blown it in terms of getting something shipped to you to give to your loved ones this holiday. But there’s still a couple of great options for holiday gifts you can find locally as long as you get yourself to a liquor store or a book store before they close tomorrow evening.

First up (because we know you probably need a drink if you’re still out there looking for Christmas presents), the Ford’s Gin Lewis Bag. It’s snazzy, it’s handy, it’s functional, it’s a great educational gift to give and share your love of gin (and other spirits) with family and friends, AND it can be used over and over and over again for making great cocktails or just getting out some aggression.

The Lewis bag, a canvas ice crushing vessel that had a long history of use and was revived and popularized in the 1990s by the Lewis Company, is more than just a thoughtful and useful gift for the bartender in your life. It’s also good for the planet. Simon Ford shares, ” Something that upsets me is the amount of un-necesscary packaging there is in the spirits industry, especially during the holidays, so I wanted to make a VAP that was an example of something that could be reused rather than one that will most likely end up in the trash once it is opened. I have worked in liquor stores and about half of the boxes that housed bottles would end up in the trash before they had even left the store and almost every gift box that is delivered to a bar will end up in the trash. I do understand that they look nice and make for nice packaging for gifts at this time of year especially for the luxury spirits but for The 86 Co I will always try and push ourselves to come up with packaging ideas that can be reused and failing that recycled whenever possible and our first attempt at a VAP is to put Fords Gin in a Lewis bag/Canvas Wick Ice Bag.”

He continues, “The copy on the bag reads… “The Lewis Bag was a staple of 19th century bartending and remains one of the most effective ways to crush ice for your drinks at home. Simply fill the bag halfway with cubes and smash them with a wooden mallet or even a rolling pin. The canvas wicks away moisture , resulting in colder ice pieces that are less apt to water down your drink. Perfect for Juleps and Smashes.” We have also placed the recipe for a Gin Julep on the bag (and in Chicago we have had a local bartender give us a recipe for the bags that will be distributed there.)”

A Lewis bag…what a smashing gift idea!

SG book gotham 7

Next, for the readers (and eaters) in your life: Savoring Gotham: A Food Lover’s Companion to New York City. This encyclopedic history of all things food and drink that make NYC the culinary destination that it is, Savoring Gotham came together in 568 entries across 760 pages written by 174 authors (including yours truly). Want to explore the history of restaurants like Delmonico, 21 Club, and Barney Greengrass? Need to delve further into the history of bars and cocktails, charities like Citymeals on Wheels, and people like Ruth Reichl, Bob Lape, and others who have been an integral part of the city’s food & restaurant scene so that you’re the smartest foodie at your next pop-up dinner?

Take a walk to your favorite bookstore (or order here at a 30% discount if you don’t need it immediately–use code ADFLYK2 at https://global.oup.com/academic/product/savoring-gotham-9780199397020?cc=us&lang=en& ) for this delicious read.

And, for five lucky www.insidefandb.com readers, we’ve got copies of this to give away. Be the first five people to email us with the answers to the following questions: How many entries in the book? How many authors contributed? Can you name one of the authors? Where is Barney Greengrass located? Whom does Citymeals on Wheels support/what do they do? Send your answers to: francinecohen@insidefandb.com and books will be on their way to you shortly.

Best wishes for a delicious holiday season and a wonderful new year!

REPEAL DAY – A CAPITAL IDEA IN DC

Celebrating 82 Years of the Repeal of the 21st Amendment
By Francine Cohen

Photo by Elizabeth Parker

Photo by Elizabeth Parker

If you’re going to make an effort to celebrate Repeal Day in the most historically accurate way it sort of makes sense to celebrate in Washington, DC where the legislation for Prohibition was first enacted and then repealed, 13 years later. If you want to pair your geographic accuracy with a swellegant time, you’ll do it in the company of the DC Craft Bartenders’ Guild at their 8th Annual Repeal Day Ball being held on Friday, December 4th at the historic Carnegie Library.

This celebration of the 82nd Anniversary of the repeal of Prohibition comes together for the eighth time in recognition of this dry time coming to an end from coast to coast. In that spirit the town’s most respected and sought out bartenders will be slinging drinks side by side with fellow bartenders from other cities, truly making the party a celebration of what the US enjoyed all at the same time, eighty two years ago– the ability to get a good drink from their favorite friendly neighborhood bartender.

Guild President, Jamie MacBain (who also serves as the Beverage Director of Daikaya), notes, “We extend invitations to bartenders in other cities because ours is a close-knit, global community. Bartenders tend to move around a lot so most of us have worked in other markets and know other people [there]. A national bartending line-up presents a unique opportunity for DC residents to see and taste how other bartenders around the country approach our craft.”
The event will showcase numerous bartenders from New York, as well as such as Lindsay Matteson of Amor y Amargo who shares, “This is THE Repeal Day event, and It’s a great opportunity to work with friends and bartenders from around the country.”

Matteson joins her fellow bartenders from DC, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, Livermore, CA and Sean Kenyon and his crew from Williams & Graham, the bar in Denver, Colorado that won the coveted Best American Bar 2015 at Tales of the Cocktails’ Spirited Awards. She adds, ” It’s also a way for us to give back to the community,” Matteson added. “If it weren’t for Repeal Day, I wouldn’t have a job.”

Photo by Elizabeth Parker

Photo by Elizabeth Parker

Thankfully, she does. And all the pouring that she and the other presenting bartenders do at the party go to a good cause; actually, a few of them. A portion of all tickets sales will be donated to The Museum of the American Cocktail, a nonprofit organization dedicated to education in mixology, and preservation of the rich history of the American cocktail. And the proceeds from the event’s first ever silent auction will go to sending one member of the DC Craft Bartenders Guild to NYC in the fall of 2016 to attend the BAR 5-Day program. MacBain explains, “This is our first year holding a silent auction and I could not be more proud of all the work and support we’ve received…from organizing support to donations…it’s been a massive undertaking. The reason for the silent is auction is simple: We wanted to do something different this year and to provide an opportunity for at least one Guild member to attend BAR 5-Day in NYC. Attending BAR 5-Day is prestigious, in and of itself. By having one of our own sit with masters of the bartending community…Dale DeGroff, Doug Frost, Steve Olson, F. Paul Pacult, Andy Seymour, Dave Wondrich…he or she will gain knowledge and experience that’s unrivaled in the profession.”
This annual party is unrivaled in its popularity and the Roaring Twenties inspired-theme event just keeps getting bigger and better as Guild founding member, Gina Chersevani, concludes, “It’s amazing to see the growth of this event over the years in the nation’s capital considering it started and ended here.”

ALL PINK ON THE INSIDE
Gina Chersevani (Buffalo & Bergen, Suburbia)
1 oz. Macchu Pisco
1 oz. Grapefruit Juice
1 oz. Cranberry Juice
Grapefruit spiced syrup
Shake with ice, pour into flute, fill with sparkling wine

2015 Repeal Day Ball tickets are available at
Date / Time: Friday, December 4, 2015; 9-11PM (doors open at 8PM for VIPs)

Location: Carnegie Library 801 K Street NW, Washington, DC

Tickets: Start at $80 for general admission; purchase at Eventbrite

Attire: Creative cocktail with a nod to the Roaring Twenties

Photo by Elizabeth Parker

Photo by Elizabeth Parker

POST-THANKSGIVING THINGS TO GIVE THANKS FOR: TASTES OF PERU

Limanjar_Alfajor_Image1

With Thanksgiving just 72 hours away the media is filled with stories focused on how to avoid family strife, solutions for ensuring the perfect turkey preparation, and 150 beloved and fool-proof side dish and pie recipes you’ll be happy you made.

But nobody is talking about the days after. You know, those days when the house is still full of guests and they need to be fed but there’s sure to be an uproar if you suggest Thanksgiving dinner leftovers…again.
Keep your guests, and your taste buds, happy and warm up your holiday season right with the bright flavors of Peru. With the enticing flavors and cooking techniques inspired by Peru’s multi-cultural heritage it’s no wonder that three of the world’s best restaurants can be found in Peru and that the country’s cuisine is the hottest thing on the culinary map since well, the aji pepper.

Photo by Katie Burnet

Photo by Katie Burnett

PISCO SOURS
Even French-born chefs are getting into the South American spirit of things! Chef Laurent Tourondel, who just opened two establishments at Kimpton’s Eventi Hotel in New York City — L’Amico (www.lamiconyc.com) and The Vine (www.eventihotel.com/nyc-restaurants/the-vine.html), is a huge fan of Peru’s classic cocktail, the Pisco Sour. Bartenders expecting to land a spot on his team first are put through their paces executing the perfect Pisco Sour for Chef’s discerning palate. Below he shares his current favorite recipe.

CEVICHE

Chef Marita Lynn of Runa (https://www.facebook.com/RUNAperuviancuisine) created a winning dish when she combined the aji pepper in a ceviche with some of Peru’s most popular exports; artichokes and shrimp. Her ceviche, hailed as New York City’s best in 2014, resonates with a savory tang infused by the shrimp and lemon that then chills to the lush earthiness of the artichoke. It’s a complete 180 from the turkey, gravy, and stuffing trio that’s dominated your last few days; offering a great flavor on your palate but little weight in your belly. It might even inspire you to gather the gang for a walk!

Ceviche Summer event 7-31-14 Runa

ALFAJORES
And lest all that pumpkin pie be the only dessert you enjoy this week, you’ll want to try some classic Alfajores. Make them yourself with Chef Lynn’s recipe below, or let Alvaro Omeño of Limanjar Dulceria put his family recipe to good use at his bakery and you can have them shipped directly to you.
Or send them to your departed guests. To thank them for coming. (www.limanjar.com).

RECIPES
ARTICHOKE AND SHRIMP CEVICHE by Chef Marita Lynn of Runa
Yield: 4 people
1 lb large shrimp, cleaned and deveined, tails off
8 cups of water
2 Bay leaves
14 oz Artichokes (canned or fresh)
1 lemon
Juice of 10 limes
½ stalk celery
¼ cup chopped leeks
3tbs Aji Amarillo Paste
2 garlic cloves
¼ cup vegetable oil
Salt to taste

To garnish:
Roasted Sweet Potato
Peruvian Corn Kernels (available at Latin Grocery Stores)
Chopped Cilantro

Method:
1) Fill a medium pot with water, add 8 cups of water and bay leaf. Place on stove on high heat and let water boil. Add the shrimp and let cook for 5 minutes or until color changes.
2) Take shrimp out of stove and strain, remove bay leaf and let cool.
3) For fresh artichoke hearts: Quarter the artichoke hearts, place in bowl, leave aside. Mix with cool shrimp and refrigerate.
4) For canned artichoke hearts: Drain liquid from can, rinse, and quarter the artichoke hearts, place in bowl, leave aside. Mix with cool shrimp and refrigerate.
5) In a blender, place lime juice, celery, leeks, Aji Amarillo paste and garlic cloves. Blend for 1 minute at medium speed. Then, with the motor running, add the vegetable oil in a slow, steady stream, as making a dressing. The mixture should be creamy. Set aside and chill.
6) Mix the shrimp and artichoke mix with the Aji Amarillo sauce. Season to taste.
Preparing fresh artichokes:
Fill a pot with boiling water that includes 1 bay leave and juice of half a lemon
Submerge the artichoke, flower side down, for 10 minutes
Remove from pot with slotted spoon, dry and cool on paper towel or baking rack
Peel leaves off, leaving the heart, which should be quartered.

Serve immediately garnish with cilantro on top, sweet potatoes and corn.

PISCO SOUR
From the cocktail menu of Chef Laurent Tourondel’s L’Amico

Ingredients:
2 oz. Campo Encanto Pisco
¼ oz. Lemon Juice
½ oz. Simple Syrup
½ oz. Egg White
1 dash Cocoa Nib & Chipotle Tincture
3 drops Cocoa Nib & Chipotle Tincture (to finish)

Method:
• Combine the Campo Encanto Pisco, lemon juice, simple syrup, egg white and cocoa nib & chipotle tincture in a cocktail shaker
• Dry shake (no ice) for 30 seconds to emulsify egg whites
• Add ice and hard shake for another 30 seconds
• Strain the mixture into a cocktail coupe glass
• Float three drops of the cocoa nib & chipotle tincture to finish

ALFAJORES
By Chef Marita Lynn

Yield: 50 Alfajores
2 cups all purpose flour, sifted
¾ cup butter, room temperature
4 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 cup dulce de leche
Cookie Preparation :
In a bowl, mix together, the flour, butter and sugar. Once mixed, use your hands to create a uniform dough. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
On a floured surface, making sure to flour your roller, roll the dough to ½- inch thickness. Using a 2 inch round cutter, cut out Alfajores and place on baking sheet.
Bake for 20 minutes, let the Alfajores cool on a wire rack.
Filling Preparation:
Filling Preparation:
Combine evaporated milk and condensed milk in a pan with cinnamon stick and simmer for two hours until it changes color and obtains a thick consistency.
*Manjar Blanco/Dulce de Leche can also be bought at any store, jarred or in a can.

Filled the Alfajores with dulce de leche sandwich style. Dust with powdered sugar.

FOOD AND WINE IN THE PALM OF YOUR HAND

Digital Technology in the Restaurant Industry
By Sara Kay

NoWait app icon

The inner workings of a restaurant extend far past the menu, and streamlined and responsive tools and systems are crucial for successfully running the business instead of running it into the ground. Thankfully, as we forge ahead into the future of digital technology, restaurant employees, as well as diners, are reaping the benefits of apps that hope to solve a lot of these issues, making a night out less about the planning, and more about the experience.

Until recently, the daily experience of managing that menu, managing inventory, hiring a solid staff on the floor and in the kitchen, keeping staff schedules in check (and that’s just scratching the surface) tended to be handled on a desktop computer, or if the manager and owner are old school, in a notebook or on a bulletin board. With these seemingly outdated methods, things get lost in the shuffle, and what may have started out as a simple schedule change has turned into a scheduling fiasco.

And the absence of technology doesn’t just cause problems on the staff side; diners who wish to see a menu ahead of time, or make a reservation at a restaurant last minute are brutally rebuffed by outdated pieces of technology or the total absence of technology in the restaurant, essentially being punished with extra-long wait times for not thinking to make a reservation weeks ahead of time.

Planning ahead is something that’s not always ingrained in restaurant employees as they are, for the most part, hourly workers; meaning that they don’t have corporate emails to check in order to keep up with internal communications. As a result, many messages regarding hours, staff changes, menu changes, meetings, etc., tend to only spread via word of mouth or bulletin board postings, which can prove to be fairly unreliable, turning into a game of broken telephone. Jonathan Erwin, CEO of Red e App, realized this internal issue and did something about it by developing an app that employees can use in order to access messaging, documents and scheduling in real-time. Employees can receive notifications about weather delays, meeting announcements and menu specials, and can even access their schedules in order to swap shifts with co-workers, all from their mobile device.

REA1 - for staff messaging.jpg

“The benefit to the company is a stronger affiliation with the employee, which means the company sees improvements in retention, customer satisfaction and revenue,” says Erwin. “For the first time, companies are able to measure and delegate their employee communications.”

Red e App currently has a strong restaurant subscriber base of 35,000 out of the 92,000 total Red e App subscribers, showing that technology like this isn’t only seen as a major positive for the industry, it’s a necessity. Having instant access to Red e App makes communication between management and employees fast and simple, and greatly decreases the possibility of the ever-popular excuse “Oh, I didn’t know I was working today, it wasn’t on the bulletin board!” Companies can also update Red e App with operation manuals, training information and restaurant policies to make sure that employees have access to these important documents, even after the doors of the restaurant have closed for the night.

So what about those who are going to enjoy the fruits of a restaurant’s labor? Several years ago, the founder of NoWait, a guest app that gives diners the opportunity to check wait times at restaurants and put themselves on waiting lists before showing up, found himself trying to get a table for brunch, only to realize that each restaurant he went to had unreasonably long waits. While it’s only too easy to book a reservation at reservation-only restaurants, he realized there was no OpenTable-equivalent to casual dining outposts that don’t have reservation policies. When Ware Sykes joined the NoWait team in 2013, he embraced the opportunity to carry out the founders’ vision of giving people back an undervalued gift; their own time.

“Guests love being able to wait where they want, especially with small children,” says Sykes. “NoWait keeps customers informed about their status, so there is transparency and reassurance; this information, in turn, increases the likelihood that they will stay and dine.”

NoWait’s accessibility to customers is a huge factor to its success. Being accessible from smartphones makes the app something that can be used at any time, from an hour before leaving for dinner to sitting in 20 minutes of traffic on the way there. As the first and only mobile network for casual-dining restaurants, NoWait is combining the ease of finding a favorite casual restaurant with eliminating the wait time, making for a free and relevant piece of technology that users benefit from right away.

While Red e App appeals to the restaurant employees and NoWait to the consumers, Tipsi serves both fairly equally. To give this app one definition wouldn’t be doing it true justice; it acts as a sommelier, a review site, a resource for up-to-date restaurant wine lists, a wine wish list, a food and wine pairing resource, among many other uses. Inspired by a night out during a bachelor party, Mike Bell developed an iPhone app that makes restaurant owners and diners the ‘users’ equally, by providing a consumer-facing app as well as a more industry-driven app.

“Tipsi is an easy way to communicate wine lists to consumers, giving them the opportunity to come into a restaurant armed and ready with the sort of wine they want, or the right questions to ask,” says Bell. As an avid wine drinker and enthusiast, it became obvious to him that the one challenge that restaurants as well as wine-drinkers faced was the ability to reference an up-to-date wine list that wasn’t in PDF form online. By developing Tipsi, Bell has given consumers the necessary wine knowledge ahead of time, and sommeliers the ability to update their wine lists and provide food pairing suggestions through the app with a few simple button clicks. Additionally, Tipsi makes the job of the sommelier a more versatile one, giving them the opportunity to not just work 30 tables in one night, but to work 30 restaurants in one night as well. Currently, the app is fully up-and-running at the Chelsea location of Pierre Loti, but is accessible from hundreds of restaurants around New York City.

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Digital technology and mobile access is a crucial piece of a restaurant’s everyday functionality, whether they choose to accept it or not. By employing apps like NoWait, Red e App and Tipsi, something extraordinary is happening in the restaurant industry; A night out with no complications, no waiting drama, and maybe even a bottle of wine on the table when you arrive. Have we achieved restaurant perfection? Maybe not, but we’re well on our way there.

EAT HERE NOW – THE NEW NEW ORLEANS

The New New Orleans
By Abigail Gullo

Photo by Chris Granger

Photo by Chris Granger

Welcome back to reality, my boozy companions. Now that it’s time to begin thinking about Tales of the Cocktail 2016 (you know you’re already contemplating that seminar you want to submit) and joining 25,000 of my closest friends who come to New Orleans to celebrate my birthday every year I figured I’d highlight some of the newest places you may have explored a few weeks back or bring them to your attention so you don’t miss out next July!

Here is your yearly roundup of places to check out while you are here in the Crescent City.

First though, let us not bury the lede…I am in a new place! I’m settling in nicely to life on the other side of Canal; my barspoons and I have have taken up residency at Compere Lapin in the Warehouse District (Compere Lapin 535 Tchoupitoulas, New Orleans, LA 70130
504 599 2119 www.comperelapin.com). Compere Lapin is the title of a West African folk tale that became Briar Rabbit; like the rabbit (more on that later) the restaurant’s menu is a food journey to New Orleans that begins from the Caribbean, where our chef is from. Chef Nina Compton was a finalist on Top Chef New Orleans and won fan favorite.

Photo by Sara Essex Bradley

Photo by Sara Essex Bradley

Originally from St Lucia, with a stop in the kitchen of Miami’s Scarpetta, Chef brings all the French Creole influences of her island mixed with exquisite Italian technique and of course local Louisiana flavor. Crispy pig ears, conch croquettes and curried goat with plantain gnocchi have been stand out dishes; but it is all so very delicious.

Of course it couldn’t be New Orleans without a world class cocktail program…and we have literally World Class bartender Ricky Gomez running the good ship Lapin. Ricky is native Nola and was on the opening staff at Cure before heading to Portland and becoming America’s first Diageo World Class Bartender. The bar program is exciting and inventive; there’s carbonated coconut water on tap for the Jerez Highball with sherry and absinthe, Martini inspired sippers like the Noontide with celery and pear brandy, and a King-worthy TCB Sour. All the cocktails pair so well with our fresh raw bar, crudo and the dishes coming from our extremely talented kitchen. And our pastry chef does our breakfast goodies too, so stop my Old No. 77 hotel for a key lime pie donut or blueberry hand-pie with some of the best coffee in New Orleans from Tout La, our lobby coffee shop. It is just the jump start you need to get going to those morning seminars!

Working in a new neighborhood means exploring more neighbors! We are home to the classic Swizzle Stick bar at Cafe Adalaide, Cochon and Butcher (best Muffaletta in town!) and of course, Mother’s and the World’s Best Baked Ham is right across the street.

Cochon by Chris Granger

But we have some new comers too. Mexican is hot right now and the John Besh and Aaron Sanchez collaboration Johnny Sanchez has all your agave needs along with tacos galore! Besh restaurants are famous for their happy hour programs and Johnny Sanchez is no exceptions with great deals of tacos and pitchers of margaritas. Save room for dessert as pastry chefs Kelly Fields and Lisa White are some of the best in the business.

As a matter of fact, just after you left town they opened a new pastry shop called Willa Jean in the Warehouse Districts’s new sub-neighborhood, The Paramount. Wood fired pizza, a Company Burger with boozy milkshakes and the Rouses are all located here so when you pick up supplies at our local super market chain, you can fuel your day with the best food Nola has to offer.

Speaking of one stop shopping, back in the new Marigny or St Roch neighborhood, we have a Nola foot court to end all food courts. The St Roch Market opened this year to great fanfare and some controversy this year. This traditionally poor neighborhood was a food desert for some time post-Katrina. Now with the rapid gentrification of this neighborhood, the St Roch Market became a beacon, and a bit of a target. Putting politics and gentrification theory aside, get to St Roch and go hungry (2381 St Claude Ave, New Orleans, LA 70117 (504) 609-3813 www.strochmarket.com).

Photo courtesy New Orleans CVB

Photo courtesy New Orleans CVB

Inside the breezy bright turn-of-the-20th century warehouse are local vendors offering coffee, fresh juice, oysters, Creole, Korean and African cuisine. Go to the Mayhew Bar for a cocktail, and get a dozen bivalves from the Curious Oyster stand next door then pick up some local made products like Cocktail & Son’s Syrups from Max Messier (www.cocktailandsons.com) and Tonic and Bitters from El Guapo’s Scot Maddox (www.elguapobitters.com), both bartenders turned entrepreneurs!

If you are keeping in the French Quarter, we have some great new spots that have opened up in the last year. Salon by Sucre is an upstairs lounge with Storyville inspired cocktails and full tea menu. Downstairs at Sucre is a candyland of color and taste for a quick pick me up of gelato and coffee…and maybe some signature macaroons thrown in a box too (622 Conti, www.shopsucre.com/store-locations/).

Next door to Sucre, we finally have our famous Vietnamese cuisine in the Quarter with the 9 Roses Cafe. An extension of the famous West Bank spot, come here for restorative Pho, and bright Bun and summer rolls with local pork and shrimp (620 Conti www.ninerosesrestaurant.com).

Chef Alex Harrell left Sylvain to open Angeline in the old Stella space on Chartres street. And homage to his mother, Angeline has the comfort food you crave after a long day of tasting and drinking, all in a refined setting with perfect technique.

Photo courtesy of Angeline

Photo courtesy of Angeline

The bar program is sherry and mezcal heavy, so it’s a cocktail nerd’s delight! This is a great place to stop for dinner before making your way to dance and jive on Frenchmen street (1032 Chartres St. www.angelinenola.com)!

Photo courtesy of Angeline

Photo courtesy of Angeline

Good coffee is a must and why not do some vintage barware shopping while you are at it? Arrow Cafe on North Rampart street is also a bike repair and vintage shop (628 N Rampart St.). Jane pulls the best espressos in the Quarter, hands down. And she pairs shots of espresso with lime cordial, tonic syrup and good Topo Chico for refreshing pick me ups that fuel my trips to the gym and work. You can rent a bike next door, and pick up some cool Bike Nola t-shirts from Dashing Nola and some vintage martini pitchers from Nola Drift. (Full disclosure, my dog Ronnie Magic is the mayor here and these ladies have been kind enough to do doggie day care while I run errands in this hot Nola sun.) The sense of community here in Nola is what makes it so very special. And I am so lucky to have this community in my life looking after me and my little dog too.

Marin Tockman (right) with her friend Julia and her new Public Bike at arrow cafe

On the next block, at 700 Rampart st, is a new bar called the Black Penny. They have an extensive selection of beers and some great spirits. The bar wraps between two spaces and the white leather banquets make this a cool place to sip on some suds right across from Louis Armstrong park and the legendary Congo Square.

And or course there is the long awaited Latitude 29 from Beachbum Berry. Believe the hype (and order the Tiki room service if you can). I pretty much have my own stool at the bar here and worked my way through the extensive tiki drink and food menu within a month of their opening. Luckily, the talented rooster of bartenders create their own drinks for Happy Hour, so I have always have something new to try (321 N. Peters Street www.latitude29nola.com)!

Next time you’re in town please come and visit me at the Rabbit (open a week and we already have a term of endearment for our Compere Lapin) and I will toast to good friends and good cocktails here in the city of New Orleans!

Photo by Chris Granger

Photo by Chris Granger