It sounds like a fairy tale: Some Spanish hogs, brought over by Spanish colonists in the sixteenth century, take over an island off the coast of Georgia and run wild there for hundreds of years. Feral and boarlike, they are also about the best tasting pork imaginable, and cousins to the world’s most celebrated ham. Is it a fable, conjured by the heated imagination of foodies? Or an eye-opening truth, as irrefutable as a piece of gamey and rich roast pork? We’re happy to say that it’s the latter. Bev Eggleston, of Eco-Friendly Foods in Virginia, has started selling his amazing pork to a handful of New York restaurants, and soon he may be giving the Spanish a run for their money in the ham business.
The wood-burning stove at Gramercy Tavern is an insatiable beast that requires two chefs to run. It's effectively an overgrown campfire made from hot white oak logs, and it's hard to maintain, requiring constant poking, prodding, and feeding.
Aussies ask, “Has Gordon Ramsay’s gilded decade come to an end? Has the gifted chef gone off the boil?” [Sydney Morning Herald]
It’s back to business for former Top-Chefer and recent anti-gay-attack victim Josie Smith-Malave; her Clinton Hill restaurant seems well on its way to serving global comfort food this fall. [Clinton Hill Blog]
Initial impressions on Rickshaw Dumpling: “We enjoyed eating them, and even more, we enjoy knowing that we will file our $6 receipt for the six dumplings and be reimbursed. $1 per dumpling? Do I look like some kind of NYU kid to you?” [Eat for Victory/VV]
On the heels of Citysearch’s food-blog launch comes still another source of restaurant news: the NYC debut of Metromix (still in beta, it seems) and its own food blog Deep Dish. The juiciest item so far is a roundup of chef banter from the New York Rising Stars Revue awards. Not that the rising stars seem to have been that deep in their cups when they were interviewed (food blogger rule of thumb: Wait till they’re at the after-after-party), but some of their responses sure are punchy.
Gramercy Tavern’s Michael Anthony, not to be confused with Van Halen’s Michael Anthony, is one of the city’s top Haute Barnyard cooks, a veteran of Blue Hill and a natural with produce. His Spring Vegetable Medley is a centerpiece of both Gramercy’s market menu and its vegetable tasting menu. “The idea is to bring springiness to a spring menu,” he says. “I don’t know a better way to do that then with a dish that highlights the crunch and brightness of spring flavors.” Mouse over each element to read the chef’s description.
You don’t have to look far to see spring vegetables on menus all over New York. But look for local spring vegetables, and you may find they’re AWOL. Unseasonal weather has put the kibosh on many area sources, and for chefs that pride themselves on local ingredients, it’s a problem.
Five established chefs take center stage in this week’s issue – or six, if you count Kurt Gutenbrunner, who, per In Season, has a way with white asparagus. The others? Michael Anthony, the Blue Hill Haute Barnyard prodigy who stepped into Tom Colicchio’s shoes at Gramercy Tavern; Christopher Lee, a major rising talent who filled big shoes at Gilt; Kerry Simon, a Las Vegas–based Vongerichten lieutenant who is now doing the food for a giant karaoke bar; and finally Marco Canora and Asian dessert master Pichet Ong, whose long-awaited debuts, Insieme and P*Ong, respectively, open this week. All this star power, along with two short lists that couldn’t be more different, awaits in this week’s magazine.