Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Eating Paris 1906

I just saw this short video about the menu development underway at Next, Grant Achatz's anticipated new restaurant. The concept is innovative in that the menu theme will dramatically change every few months, with Paris in 1906 being the first.

Watching them plate this dish reminds me of my most favorite cookbook ever - the posthumous publication of Toulouse-Lautrec's personal recipes, circa 1905, entitled The Art of Cuisine. Oh Monsieur Lautrec... I could spend hours talking about how he was a brilliantly gifted misfit in search of acceptance from the Parisian women celebrities he adored from afar, and eventually made icons during his short life. Almost better, he was a sparkling wit and a skilled hunter with deep family pockets that he used to support his true love of the kitchen. Like his art, this book is an endless joy that tells so much about the person who adored nothing more than throwing an over-the-top and totally out-of-hand-party for his circle of now-famous and infamous friends. You can find it at used book dealers through Amazon.

Friday, December 10, 2010

The Only Gift You Need

This holiday, I'm all about ease. (That, and accepting the chaos, but that's another matter.) So rather than tax your already taxed yuletide attention span with a long list of potential foodie gifts, I'm going to give it to you straight.

Get all your foodie-fied friends the new cookbook published by the New York Times.


1. I'm hearing good things. Mostly from David Lebovitz, who thinks it's surprisingly great.

2. How often does the NYT publish a cookbook? Like, nevah. Hardly anyone has it yet, and its mere publication makes it a momentous event... Especially if the NYT doesn't exist in 5 years. Imagine the eBay value then!

3. With its significant heft, you can also use it to kill bugs, work your core, as a hotplate, or to press your own gravlax.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Review: Owen & Engine

Can we hug? I'd been eyeing the renovation of this building across from the movie theatre for months, daring to hope for anything to break up the endless blight of fast food, empty car dealerships, and mechanics on Western. I thought it was a mirage Saturday night after our movie when I peeked inside the lovely wall of frosty French windows to see...tables set with sparkling glassware and linen napkins? A glimmering bar stacked four tiers high with premium alcohol? A late night menu...with a cheese plate? (Ok. I couldn't see the menu or the cheese. But I felt them like Yoda feels the presence of the Force.)

Me to husband: Do you wanna-

Husband: YES.

Inside, cozy heaven: candles twinkling in pubby darkness, servers in checky menswear outfits, the good vibes that come with excellent beer and wine circulating, an air of possibly authentic Britishness (although who cares on Western? I mean really), and a late night menu that reminds me of the Gage. Someone actually built a gastropub near Targhetto. And I love them.

The cheese included five stellar selections organized from mild to ballsy. They were accompanied by a pile of light savory crisps and rye bread, plus four relishes to smear it all together in dizzying combinations (honeycomb, vidalia onion, apple, and cranberry). My husband had the rarebit, which I always thought was related to rabbit. But then what do I know? It's what you eat when you don't catch any rabbit - i.e. good quality cheddar melted on rye bread with a few other goodies. Nice, cozy, simple food. Wallace and Grommet food.

Diverse wine list. Global selection of beers. Amazing cocktails. We're hooked.

Owen and Engine on Urbanspoon