It’s November in the food-magazine business, so expect feature after endless feature about Thanksgiving, and every imaginable variation on recipes for turkey and stuffing. Gourmet gives a pretty complete account, including big Turkey Day features on the fancy version, the Asian version, the Italian version, and even the vegetarian version. Bon Appétit is about the same, taking the big-name approach: Bruce Aidells on turkey, and Michael Lamonaco on potatoes, among others. A profile of Aidells and his meat-minded kitchen is in November's Food & Wine, as well as such year-round delights as domestic cheeses and a new brand of whiskey out of Oregon. Saveur, thankfully, limits itself to a nice article about a West Virginia farm, and then dips in on such disparate topics as kale, heritage chickens, prosciutto from Iowa, and other Saveur-like topics. We’re grateful for the respite; Thanksgiving is early this year but not that early.
“The doctrine of seasonal correctness is as ingrained in the collective restaurant psyche, these day, as linen napkins, pre-dinner cocktails, and superfluous baskets of bread,” Adam Platt writes in his review of Park Avenue Autumn, and who are we to argue? The combined efforts of Platt, the Robs, and Gael Greene all point to the triumph of the seasonal aesthetic. But that’s not to say they aren’t fun. Platt gives two stars to Park Avenue Autumn, Gael seems fairly pleased with Irving Mill, and the Robs introduce three restaurants (Lunetta, Bacaro, and Smith's) that are all about fresh ingredients, as well as a recipe for Bosc pears that is, of course, in season. Meanwhile, back at the Greenmarket, a long-overdue crusade against plastic bags is at work. And, though not an expression of the Haute Barnyard mystique, it's very much a sign of the times: PDT has named a hot dog for David Chang — proof that the Original Soupman has made it to the big time at last.
Not only does the Shamlian brothers’ new Essex Street bar not yet have a name (James Killing is the current front-runner), but the place’s mechanical bull (the second in the city after Johnny Utah’s) is also still anonymous. And though Rob Shamlian says rumors on Eater that the bull doesn’t have padding are incorrect (quote: “Nine out of ten things you read on blogs are total bullshit”), it won’t be fully operational when the bar, built from salvaged redwood, opens to the public tonight. Still, take a look at the beast. Word is, rides will cost around $20 when it’s working (“soon”) and a chalkboard will list the top riders. Meanwhile, this isn’t just the first mechanical bull on the LES, but according to Andrew Robertson, a former sous-chef at Town and Country and a pitmaster at Hill Country it’ll be the first “genuine southern” restaurant in the city.
Do you grip a knife like a baton? Do your tomato wedges fall apart in seedy clumps? Recent Top Chef winner Hung Huynh visited with Grub Street at Dani yesterday to demonstrate his famous knife skills. The quicksilver cook showed how to julienne squash and a speedy way to slice meat. Definitely try this at home. But first, watch the video.
How to Chop Like a Top Chef [Video]