Posts Tagged ‘Iron Chef’

DON’T MISS – JEAN DE LILLET 2009

Thursday, May 16th, 2013

Open Up Your Palate and Mind to the Pleasures of the Aperitif
By Francine Cohen

Jean De Lillet 2009 vintage

Starting a conversation with “I’m sorry…” is usually the domain of errant boyfriends and husbands, naughty children, and dirty politicians at press conferences. Now, add to that list, very fortunate (yet guilty) editors.

You must know, we mean it. We really are feeling a little guilty about spending an entire “Don’t Miss” column telling you about a product you’ll possibly never taste because it was produced in such a limited quantity that only 1,000 bottles total made it to the US.

But we can’t help it. Why? Because, even if you can’t find it at your favorite bar or track down one of the bottles still on liquor store shelves in NYC and CA you need to know about the existence of the deliciousness that is Jean De Lillet 2009; the vintage aperitif made from grapes ripened in what was a very good year in Bordeaux.

The juice, which was aged in French oak, offers up a lot of the wood on the nose, producing a slightly more bitter product than the traditional Lillet blanc. The extra aging process results in additional variances from its blanc cousin, such as a fuller and richer mouthfeel thanks to extra viscosity. The expected bittersweet and floral notes do come through on this golden hued Jean de Lillet 2009 just as they do on the blanc.

Tempting, right? We hope you’ll find it somewhere. If you can’t, at least you may want to understand why…Lillet’s brand ambassador, Amanda Boccato, comments on the limited supply limited and what to do if

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PPX – CHEF ALEX STRATTA

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

By Vincenza Di Maggio

Photo courtesy of Wynn Las Vegas

“We have an opportunity to do something really special here, and things that are special take time,” says Chef Alex Stratta as he casually raises his hot cup of coffee and motions towards his surroundings.

He’s sitting at a table inside of his latest culinary endeavor, his newly opened New York City restaurant, Bigoli — http://bigolirestaurant.com/. It’s only 2pm and the restaurant has not yet opened for dinner. It’s quiet… peaceful – well, except for the occasional sounds of clinking plates and running water emanating from the kitchen as the staff prepares for the dinner crowd. The chairs still sit on top of the wooden tables. Light floods into the dining room through the enormous skylight above, and the brick oven has just been turned on, the fire slowly warming up the room. The relaxing atmosphere suits him.

He’s right, things that are special do take time. And who would know it better than him? For over 30 years the renowned chef has worked and succeeded in developing an exciting career; the majority of which was spent working in the kitchens of Michelin two-star restaurants. Stratta’s name has become synonymous with “fine dining” and often evokes images of white tablecloths, elegantly folded napkins, mahogany coffered ceilings, crystal chandeliers, and tiny food portions. But with the opening of Bigoli, a casual neighborhood Italian restaurant located in Greenwich Village, he has decided to leave the luxurious dining experience behind. In fact, he’s stepping away from heat of the stove entirely and exploring a different aspect of the culinary industry – restaurant consulting. He says, “After 30 years of experience I’m doing something completely new which is what’s exciting about the restaurant business.”

It’s a business that’s in his blood. Stratta’s roots in the hospitality industry reach back to his great great grandfather who once owned a hotel in Piemonte, a Northern region of Italy bordering France and Switzerland. Generations later, across the Atlantic Ocean, Stratta’s father continued the family tradition by running a hotel company that required Stratta to make frequent trips from New York to Connecticut. As a fifth generation hotelier Stratta says, “I grew up surrounded by good food and good service. It became a part of who I was. I naturally gravitated towards the kitchen.”

Stratta started working his first kitchen job at the age of 15 at Manero’s Steakhouse in Greenwich, Connecticut. He slowly worked his way from dishwasher, to line cook, and 20 years later to executive chef at Mary Elaine’s restaurant at the Phoenician resort in Scottsdale, Arizona. Years later he was invited by Steve Wynn to the Wynn Las Vegas Resort where he worked as executive chef of his two namesake restaurants, Alex and Stratta. It was in the kitchen of these fine dining restaurants that he really established himself as one of Las Vegas’ most notable chefs.

Stratta, who has become somewhat of a celebrity, thinks back to the beginning of his career and recalls, “When I was a cook and becoming a chef it wasn’t such an admirable position as it is now. The biggest challenge for me is finding the balance between

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EAT HERE NOW – KANSAS CITY

Friday, August 5th, 2011

By Seánan Forbes

Photo courtesy of the Kansas City Convention and Visitors Association

Kansas City’s not just about barbecue. There are restaurants, bars and coffee shops that would be mobbed were they in LA or New York, but the owners are happy in the Heartland. If you’re into coffee, then share in KC’s celebration of its independent roasters: The Roasterie (www.theroasterie.com) and Broadway Café and Roasting (www.broadwaycafeandroastery.com). Visit at the right hour, and you can catch one of Kansas City’s chefs fuelling up for another successful day.

Three-time Beard nominee Colby Garrelts and his wife, Megan, are an unstoppable pair: as parents, chefs (Colby handles the savory side; Megan, the sweet), and co-owners of Bluestem (www.bluestemkc.com, 900 Westport Road). They’re looking into opening a new restaurant, and are working on a cookbook – and their crew gets along so well that they hang out together when they have time off.

Photo by Bonjwing Lee

Where would they have you go in KC? In the great tradition of “eat dessert first,” let’s give Megan Garrelts the first word. “We go to Room 39 a lot,” she says. “It’s homey. It’s small . . . They have a great burger, great specials and soups . . . Ted [Ted Habinger, chef-restaurateur] is a great friend of ours.” Habinger’s worked for some of the best, including Danny Meyer. Room 39 is the ultimate in egalitarian treatment. Whether you spend hours drinking excellent cappuccinos and reading the newspaper, or order a five-course meal and a $200 bottle of wine, you’ll be shown honest grace and courtesy. Habinger wouldn’t have it any other way.

R Bar (www.rbarkc.com, 1617 Genessee Street) is another of her favorites. There’s “a great cocktail selection.” Just as important, “The ambience is just really cool. It has that old Kansas City feel. It takes you back in time.” Check the calendar for live music. R Bar’s drinks pair well with jazz.

Laughing, Colby Garrelts says, “The boys and I eat out almost every single day. We go hit the holes in the wall with the good lunches. These are the places that are the heart and soul of what we eat on a normal basis. We eat tons of pho.”   For that, they go to The Vietnam Café. (522 Campbell Street) and Kim Long Asian Market and Restaurant (511 Cherry Street) “It’s where the Vietnamese people go to eat, both of these places.” Look for “noodles, vermicelli, tripe – which isn’t really tripe – tendon, shank . . .” Garrelts’ one-word review: “Fantastic.

El Camino Real (902 N 7th Street, Kansas City KS). “They serve real gorditas – they hand-make all the gorditas – and they have those big pork shoulders with pineapple that drip and roast in the rotisserie. This is the real deal.”

El Pollo Rey (1101 Kansas Avenue, Kansas City KS) “All these people do is grill chickens.” You can buy a whole or half-chicken. You get fresh, warm tortillas, pickled vegetables, Mexican sodas – and it’s just spectacular.”

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