Posts Tagged ‘WWJPD?’


WWJPD: The James Beard Awards

May 8, 2009


It happens that MG and I were invited to the James Beard Awards the other evening. We were not being honored this time around, nor were any of our affiliations, which is fine. I like to think we were invited more as eye-candy and perhaps as a pinch of comic relief for our table, which is also fine. The truth is, that by the time we got to the dining room and each guest had four working wine glasses and one full beer glass in front of them, we were all pretty comical. There was talk of summer homes and yacht building and I just had to check the spelling of the word yacht.

After the awards ceremony there was the Gala Reception where everyone got to rub lapels and eat some bites from restaurants around the country. The standout for me was from a place on the west coast, Cafe Juanita (Kirkland, Washington). Chef Holly Smith celebrated her ‘west-coastness’ by pairing luxurious morsels of king crab legs with a little scoop of green apple sorbetto. This was garnished with a sprinkle of sweet crab butter powder. Crab. Butter. Powder. …which, she explained to me, was created by mixing maltodextrin with the flavored butter. Crab (or lobster or shrimp) butter is one of those waste-not items that simmers the scraps and shells of the crustacean in butter very slowly to draw out all the flavor those bits have to offer. From there it can be seasoned accordingly (and apparently turned into a powder with the addition of some clever creativity on the part of the chef). The crab remained center stage as the bright, crispness of the sorbet was teased by the buttery powder melting seductively over it all. Clearly I was a big fan of this simple yet innovative amuse bouche. Anita Lo of Annisa also had a nice offering and, coincidentally, it also involved an icy element. The dish was a tartare enhanced with Asian flavors (spotty in the memory here…) and topped ‘to order’ with a flavored ice. This was delicious and especially perfect with the tartare because it kept the chill on it, which is key when enjoying raw food.

The real highlight of the evening, not yacht talk or gluttonous hors d’oeuvre consumption, was meeting the kind and gracious Jacques Pepin living legend, fairy godpapa. He truly seemed to enjoy himself as the room filled with people and cameras flashed away. We spotted him from a balcony and sauntered down to make his acquaintance as some of the herd moved toward the dining room. He was not hurried, he was not annoyed that another fan wanted to say hi. Actually he was so totally cool that since this meeting, when dealing with people or dealing with food, I find myself asking What Would Jacques Pepin Do?


Eaters everywhere: the omnivore’s hundred

December 14, 2008

A very smart blogger started a questionnaire called the Omnivore’s Hundred. It is a smattering of a world of food, specialties from regions far and wide. It was posted several months ago but the list of participants is growing all the time.

So, I got involved. One was supposed to bold all of the yes’s and leave the no’s… it is an interesting list!

The VGT Omnivore’s Hundred:

  1. Venison – yes
  2. Nettle tea – yes
  3. Huevos rancheros – si
  4. Steak tartare – oui
  5. Crocodile – alligator! but not croc…
  6. Black pudding – yes.
  7. Cheese fondue – oh hell yes!
  8. Carp – hmmm, no.
  9. Borscht – yes
  10. Baba ghanoush – yes
  11. Calamari – yup.
  12. Pho – as often as possible
  13. PB&J sandwich – yes…no brainer
  14. Aloo gobi – yes and yum
  15. Hot dog from a street cart – I’m a New Yorker!
  16. Epoisse – yes
  17. Black truffle – mmmmm. yes
  18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes – yes. plum, apple
  19. Steamed pork buns – oh the dumpling window on Grand Street!
  20. Pistachio ice cream – yes.
  21. Heirloom tomatoes – yes, thx Diner.
  22. Fresh wild berries – yes.
  23. Foie gras – oh yeah!
  24. Rice and beans – yes
  25. Brawn, or head cheese – yes, in Germany
  26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper – yep.
  27. Dulce de leche – yes
  28. Oysters – many
  29. Baklava – yes
  30. Bagna cauda – yes
  31. Wasabi peas – yes
  32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl – no… I have breadbowl-phobia
  33. Salted lassi – no…only mango
  34. Sauerkraut – yes
  35. Root beer float – yes…with whiskey cherries
  36. Cognac with a fat cigar – mmm. yes
  37. Clotted cream tea – no but I hear great things
  38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O – yes. I was young once
  39. Gumbo – yes! thx Chef Brent Sims
  40. Oxtail – yes
  41. Curried goat – yes, the East Indian Day Parade has the best!!
  42. Whole insects – si. chauplines en Mexico
  43. Phaal – no but i’m gonna find it!
  44. Goat’s milk – only in the form of cheese, yogurt, or ice cream
  45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £/$ or more – wholesale or retail!? anyway, yes.
  46. Fugu – nope
  47. Chicken tikka masala – yes. mmm!
  48. Eel – yes
  49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut – yes
  50. Sea urchin – oh yes!
  51. Prickly pear – yes
  52. Umeboshi – yes, often
  53. Abalone – yes! eco-fished and delicious
  54. Paneer – yesum!
  55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal – not lately but yes
  56. Spaetzle – at the restaurant we make all the time
  57. Dirty gin martini – yes. janiiiiine
  58. Beer above % ABV – oh canada!
  59. Poutine – called ‘couch potatoes’ in the NYC
  60. Carob chips – yes…my mom made us do healthy things
  61. S’mores – yes!
  62. Sweetbreads – yes.
  63. Kaolin – seems it is an ingredient in toothpaste, so i guess so
  64. Currywurst – no
  65. Durian – maybe…in taiwan. counts as a ‘no’ if i am unsure
  66. Frogs’ legs – yes
  67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake – all of the above
  68. Haggis – from a can!! so…no. not authentically.
  69. Fried plantain – si.
  70. Chitterlings, or andouillette – yes. me no like.
  71. Gazpacho – sure
  72. Caviar and blini – yes
  73. Louche absinthe – yes Hotel Delmano. In style.
  74. Gjetost, or brunost – no
  75. Roadkill – no
  76. Baijiu – no
  77. Hostess Fruit Pie – yes. blueberry was my fave
  78. Snail – yes
  79. Lapsang souchong – yes
  80. Bellini – yes
  81. Tom yum – yes
  82. Eggs Benedict – yes
  83. Pocky – yes. regular and ‘for men’ flavor
  84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant. – ate at Le Bernadin but i think we ordered a la carte
  85. Kobe beef – no
  86. Hare – yes
  87. Goulash – yes
  88. Flowers – yes
  89. Horse – yes
  90. Criollo chocolate – yes
  91. Spam – yeah
  92. Soft shell crab – yes
  93. Rose harissa – wow! with rose…no
  94. Catfish – yes
  95. Mole poblano – yes, en Mexico tambien. I learned how to make it in a cooking class here.
  96. Bagel and lox – again…new yorker!
  97. Lobster Thermidor – no, funny someone just asked me how to make it
  98. Polenta – yes
  99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee – yes
  100. Snake – yes! in powder form!!