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READ JOHN MARIANI'S ARTICLE ON DINING OUT IN PHOENIX AND SCOTTSDALE IN
DIVERSION MAGAZINE, CLICK HERE.
by Edward Brivio
NEW YORK CORNER:
by John Mariani
by Edward Brivio
does one keep a 112 year-old
Grande dame well turned-out, youthful, and attractive?
If the “lady” in
question is The Breakers, one of the few still privately-held historic
hotels in America--owned by heirs of the original owners--as well as
unchallenged doyenne of Palm Beach’s social season for over a century,
the answer is an annual infusion of many millions of dollars for
preservation and renewal: painstaking work involving a small army of
conservationists, engineers, and craftsmen: metalworkers, stonemasons,
upholsterers, etc. A floor-to-ceiling refurbishment of all the
guestrooms is well on its way to completion (done so as to minimize
noise and disruption)) New dining options, as well as the over-the-top
comfortable Beach bungalows, have been added, and the façade,
with its subtle, tone-on-tone color scheme of ocher against bright
white, has never looked better, especially its intricate frieze-like
Thus, a sojourn to this grand palazzo on the
Atlantic is an annual event for many people. Once, as we reluctantly
handed our bags to the bellhop prior to leaving, we noticed new
arrivals next door. No luggage in evidence, just four quite large FedEx
boxes in the hall. suggesting the resources not only to avail oneself
of the least onerous means of portage, but also for indulging in a
rather lengthy holiday.
Nothing lifts my spirits like
passing beneath the columned porte-cochere and entering the Breakers’
magnificent lobby with its authentic Gilded Age patina, its marble
arcades, heavy brocade wall-hangings, antique tapestries, and
over-sized, gilt-wood settees and fauteuils, rejuvenated by massive,
constantly refreshed, flower bouquets (below).
For a few days at least, we get
to call this exquisitely hand-crafted fantasy, worthy of a Renaissance
condottiere, home. A service staff as pleasant as it is attentive makes
one feel even more like a privileged, pampered courtier. The
Breakers’ Executive Chef, Anthony Sicignano, sees to it that
dining--whatever the venue, whether in one of the full-blown dinner
restaurants, or in the various, informal, lunch “shacks,” that dot the
property--is on a par with the accommodations, and the oceanfront
surroundings. Thanks to him, the same top-notch
ingredients, many organic
and/or purchased locally, some from the resort’s own organic herb and
vegetable garden, provision all of them, meanwhile making sure that
each has its own distinctive style as well as menu."
All this, and the ocean
right out the back door.
Our Flagler Club Level room,
comfortable king-size bed, closet with dresser and safe behind
double-folding doors, small desk and chair for anyone unfortunate
enough to have to do work here, and plantation shutters on double
windows overlooking the Mediterranean courtyard to the blue sea beyond,
was all airy brightness, owing to its fresh paint job, linens, and pale
palette. Club Level rooms occupy the 6th and 7th floors and constitute
a more intimate (28 rooms), more exclusive hotel with enhanced
amenities, within the larger one. This means complimentary continental
breakfast every morning in the 6th floor reception area and
nibbles and drinks throughout the day, with afternoon tea and late
supper as well, all without charge. And all excellent: pastries worthy
of a patisserie, freshly-made canapés, and coffee in any form,
at the push of a button. It also means being pampered by priceless
concierge Bernard Nicole, with that wonderful, easy-going, unassuming
savoir-faire, sincere desire to see others happy, and discreet,
irrepressible smile, all the more charming and warm for its world-weary
“edge” --that seems all but the patrimony of the better Old World
hotelier. I can’t imagine the Flagler Club without him.
The large terrace, for Club guests only
-- perfect for evening cocktails, when the flocks of small, green
parrots resident in the nearby casuarinas come out for their sunset
romp-- is now shaded by an enormous, not to say stupendous,
cantilevered, quatrefoil market-umbrella, its highly-polished wood
armature and large expanses of taut white canvas as much sculptural as
they are functional.
Just arrived and immediately checked-in, we
had a wonderful quick lunch at the relaxed, oceanfront Seafood
Bar. The first in what would be a succession of wonderful jumbo
lump crab cakes consumed during our stay came with fire-roasted corn,
black bean salsa, and a charred, red bell pepper aïoli. Even
was the Seafood club sandwich, a mouth-watering mountain of Maine
lobster and JLC salad on brioche with Applewood bacon and those
truffled French-fries that fortunately seem ubiquitous in this
run $17 to 39; soups/salads $13.50 to $24.50, and entrees $29.50 to $63.
Beach Club occupies a sprawling
patio overlooking the main pool. Large market umbrellas shading
well-spaced tables provide respite from the sun; other tables, exposure
to it. Spicy tempura tuna roll, crisp fried with avocado, shitake
mushrooms, scallion and a honey chili sauce for dipping exceeded
expectations. Not only was the presentation beautiful, and appetizing,
but this simple lunch dish was prepared and plated with all the care
usually reserved for more exalted fare. The Beach club salad is a scoop
each of tuna and chicken salads, with avocado, mango, beef-steak
mushrooms, and baby greens in a citrus vinaigrette, provided the best
of both worlds, and saved one having to choose between fish or
fowl. Starters: $10.50 to $21.25;
salads: $18 to $22; mains: $16.75 to $21.
great for lunch is the Ocean Grill
(right), with an inside dining
as well as a large comfortable
veranda open to the ocean breezes. The crabmeat burger on toasted
brioche with a sweet chili aïoli I can recommend highly, but what
really knocked my flip-flops off was Cajun-spiced mahi-mahi served on a
toasted bun with pineapple/papaya salsa, curly fries, and coleslaw. The
wood-smoke from the grill beautifully framed the clean flavors of the
ocean-fresh fish, and the coleslaw wasn’t bad either.
Few would disagree
that the best place in town for steak is the Breaker’s own Flagler
Steakhouse (below), in
a contemporary rendering of an old Florida-style
clubhouse,” overlooking the 18th green of the resort‘s Ocean golf
course. Shuttle transportation is, of course, available, but the
short walk down Breaker’s Way and just across South Ocean Drive is
pleasant enough in the cool of the evening.
This is no-nonsense, masculine, steakhouse
décor, but of the most refined sort --the equivalent of a
well-tailored chalk-stripe suit in charcoal grey--understated yet
assured, promising comfort without compromise. Massive, dark
wood-paneling is everywhere, mahogany pilasters, columns and a
deeply-recessed ceiling of the same wood provide points of interest,
while large, foliate wall sconces and discreet table lamps provide just
the right muted illumination. One wall of over-sized, double-hung
windows lets the evening in. Big tables and large armchairs
barely populate the spacious room, while diners who prefer the
out-of-doors make themselves comfortable on a large veranda. On a balmy
night, it’s a lovely place, overlooking a pond and the quiet, shadowy
The warm goat cheese and mushroom bruschetta served here was
delicious, all the more so because of its
accompaniment of hearts of palm, shaved fennel, artichoke, tomatoes,
field greens as well as toasted pine nuts and a lemon-porcini
vinaigrette, everything correctly dressed. Sweet corn chowder with
bacon, a touch of avocado butter, and more jumbo lump crab was smooth
and creamy, and much, much more than just another excuse to eat more
Steak au poivre, a
rib-eye instead of the NY strip listed on the menu, was tender, juicy,
and flavorful, and the au poivre sauce
was just about perfect, sharp,
intense, but with a certain “clarity“ of flavor. I had the dry-aged NY
strip, for a whopping $65. But what a piece of meat, with that real
beef flavor that only comes from true dry-aging, tender, juicy but not
sloppy, and just about as flavorful as a steak could be. Creamed
spinach and Parmesan steak fries were more than welcome additions.
I’ve always enjoyed the Spanish
reds produced by the Marques de Grinon (aka Carlos Falco) at his
Valdepusa vineyards, outside Toledo. Unabashedly international in
style, they still managed to have the structure and acidity to keep
them in balance. The 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon ($96), however, was
sailing a trifle too close to the wind. With intense fruit, and
freshness, it was as gratifying a mouthful as ever, but here, the fruit
was almost sweet (ugh!), and the sought-after “edges” (tannins, acids)
too muted, so its richness seemed heavy. Perhaps, it was the vintage.
Appetizers: $15.75 to 22.75;
soups/salads: $13.50 to $21.25; entrees: $36 to $67; sides: $7.25 to
L’Escalier (below) has long been the
resort’s signature restaurant, in a setting of Old World,
hand-crafted magnificence, with some carefully chosen contemporary
pieces thrown into the mix. Recently, it was “split-up” into two
separate venues, L’Escalier and Brasserie L’Escalier, the latter
providing classic French bistro fare in an informal, dress-down kind of
space. Unfortunately, we did not have a chance to dine at the
Brasserie. The original L’Escalier is now an even more intimate,
exclusive space with only 32 covers. Beautiful, comfortable, oversized
armchairs, or even better, dramatic, oversized banquettes invite one to
sit down, sit back, and stay a spell. Versace china, Christofle
silverware, and a very hospitable line-up of fine Riedel crystal; big,
roomy, beautifully-dressed tables far away from one’s neighbor’s; and a
very attentive, wait-staff all create an atmosphere of cosseted
leisure, where one can give the chef’s dishes the attention they
Butter-poached Maine lobster with
Americaine, next to a “basket” filled with fava beans and
asparagus, was delicious, especially since vanilla had been used very
sparingly in the beurre blanc. Salade
Lyonnaise is fast becoming my default appetizer. Here it was
even better than usual for being slightly gussied-up: two poached eggs
napped with hollandaise, atop duck confit
instead of the usual lardons,
on a bed of well-dressed micro-greens.
Dover sole and scallops Veronique, each in its
own “nest” of pretty, overlapping, tile-like slices of summer squash,
worked well together, and the perfect dill and ricotta gnocchi --the real thing from a
fine hand with pasta: light as a cloud and quick to
melt-in-your-mouth--also on the plate, were an unexpected bonus.
Plume de Veau cuit sous vide
interesting, forward-looking choice. The veal is, to put it
as simply as possible, cooked in a vacuum
bag. I found it rather bland, neither
more tender nor more intensely flavored --two of cuisson sous vide’s
vaunted benefits-- than most Plume de Veau. The humble braised pork
belly alongside it was much more to my liking.
A Domaine Guyon, Chambolle-Musigny A.C. 2006
($65 for a half-bottle) did nicely with all our choices. Everything I
look for in red burgundy was there, nice dry cherry flavors, a whiff of
must, supple, medium body, and nothing cola-like about it at all.
A cheese course of three choices ($20) was
and the Epoisses, Roquefort, and Taleggio, were all at their peak.
$18 to $29;
entrees: $38 to $56; jackets requested.
Breakers opened Echo (below) in 2000, offsite at
230A Sunrise Avenue, a short shuttle ride from the main building. It
quickly became one of the hottest places in town, and locals wonder how
they got along for so long without its spectacular pan-Asian cuisine
served in a stylish, sleek, contemporary setting that still manages to
be extremely warm, informal, and comfortable, especially if you‘re
sitting on the long, sinuous banquet that divides the dining room from
the bar. One of the best ways to get a handle on its myriad menu
offerings is by ordering the Chef’s Sharing Menu available for 4 or
more diners at $80 apiece, and well worth it, both for the quality, and
the generous portions. Photo:
The feast began with the Dragonfly Sampler:
Crispy jumbo shrimp, Thai chicken and shrimp rolls, chicken shumai
dumplings, and pork spare ribs, each mouth-watering and a model of its
kind, the shrimp “crisp“ as promised, the Thai rolls fresh and light
with a satisfying “crack” to their delicate shells, the dumplings plump
and yielding, but the spare ribs really took pride of place. Forget
every Chinese restaurant version you’ve ever had. Spicy, crunchy yet
succulent, perfectly lacquered with an indescribably delicious glaze,
practically fat-free, these were, hands-down, the best Asian-inspired
ribs I’ve ever had.
Next came Echo’s signature Spider roll, crispy
panko-covered soft-shell crab with green leaf lettuce, cucumber, and
Japanese mayonnaise, a perfect melding of crisp, fleshy crab, and
refreshing cucumber, and greens. Quickly followed an excellent Peking
duck, the various fixings: sliced duck breast, thin-sliced scallions,
Hoisin sauce, and pancakes, brought to your table for display, and
then deftly turned into six ready-to-eat packages by the nimble waiter.
Once again, just about a perfect mix of flavorful meat, sweet sauce,
and the clean “bite” of the scallions. We never visit Echo without
ordering it, although I wish the “pancakes” used were a little less
After these “starters” -- really enough for a
whole meal--came the main courses: Seared ginger beef, i.e.,
tenderloin, tangy and tender, with sweet potato “fries,” Shrimp
pad thai, jumbo shrimp, plump and light, on a pilaf of rice noodles,
shallots, bean sprouts, chives, tofu, egg, Thai basil and peanuts; and
"Drunken chicken," so-called from its braising in wine, a dish I
the least exciting of our main dishes.
Echo’s top-notch fried rice, studded with diced barbecued pork, shrimp
and egg; as well as faultless sautéed green beans with shitake
mushrooms rounded out the dishes.
A full complement of sushi and sashimi is
prepared by two Japanese sushi-chefs. We had little bites of the
wahoo, tuna, and hamachi,
undeniably fresh, satisfying, yet ethereal.
A carefully chosen wine
list is filled with wines that complement the Asian cuisine. Certainly
our wine that night, the 2002 Holy Trinity (a blend of Grenache,
Shiraz, and Mourvèdre) from Australia’s Grant Burge ($81) was
was called for, with plenty of ripe fruit to please the palate, enough
not be turned shrill by the food’s occasional sweet notes, but still
with the “edge” to keep it from being blowsy.
The pu-pu platter of desserts was
filled with luminaries.
Raspberry crème brûlée, and another flavored with
pistachio, tasted great, and looked just as good in their small,
rectangular “ramekins” of cobalt blue earthenware. A cheesecake
topped with fresh mini Mandarin orange sections,
and candied zest, was
superb, really, as was an almost molten chocolate cake with vanilla ice
cream. Half of a carefully sliced Asian pear made for a thoughtful,
Sushi/sashimi: $4 to
25; small plate/starters: 8 to 16; main courses: 18 to 62; sides: 9 to
those new Beach Bungalows. As if
the Cabanas didn’t supply amenities enough, as well as immediate access
to ocean or pool, The Breakers have gone one better by adding 20
full-service bungalows, with their own very attentive “concierges,”
surrounding its new Relaxation Pool, a few footsteps from the
sand. Children and boisterous grown-ups are simply requested to
choose one of the other large, equally beautiful pools to play in, so
those of us who prefer to read quietly, or even half-snooze, between
trips twixt surf, pool and umbrella, can do so without feeling
priggish, and without disruption. Relaxing on the bungalow’s private
patio, with a living room, full bathroom, inside and outside showers,
an abundance of fluffy towels, and cold drinks nearby, plus a
phone to order-in lunch, made our day at the beach just about perfect.
We stayed from mid-morning until it was time to go up and dress for
Finally, to start the day on a high note,
there’s breakfast in the Circle
Dining Room (left),
certainly one of the most beautiful dining rooms in
the world, not only for its impressive crystal chandelier suspended
from an equally dramatic, leaded skylight, but also for its wonderful
ceiling medallions depicting various, classic Italian views (Tivoli,
Castel Sant’Angelo, Piazza San Marco, et
al.) and for
just about every square inch of its unabashedly Neo-Classic decor.
Top-notch eggs Benedict, and Corned-beef hash--I can’t resist the real
thing, made from scratch--with poached eggs, always satisfy here,
along with cups of good hot coffee, and constantly-refilled glasses of
fresh orange juice enjoyed in its own terroir. This is also the venue
for the over-the-top Sunday Brunch, a weekly occasion for many locals.
At $80 per, it isn’t cheap, but where else can you feast on your fill
of American sturgeon caviar--an excellent, nicely briny, fresh, and
clean replacement for the now astronomically priced Caspian
varieties--and Alaskan King crab legs, and just about every other
breakfast, lunch, or dinner staple, (eggs “anyway, carved roasts, iced
shellfish etc.) you can think of, as well as a veritable groaning board
of irresistible pastries and sweet confections? And don’t forget the
NEW YORK CORNER
by John Mariani
100 West 82 Street
premises used to be Rain,
which had a certain Vietnamese kitsch going on in the décor, so
restraint in the large L-shaped restaurant re-named BarBao is welcome,
arrival of Michael Bao Huynh, who'd been at Bao 111 in rhe East Village
and Mai House in TriBeCa, brings the food into better focus.
There are three linked
but different spaces to dine in here, the Main Dining Room (right), seating 86; the Bar and
Lounge, seating 34, and the Chef's Table, with 12. The Parlor
Room towards the rear is a pretty little cul-de-sac with sofas and
offers the most intimacy. I was there on a slow night so I cannot
judge the noise level of BarBao on a weekend when the place is
full. As for the design, forgive me if I
just quote the press release, which explains a lot: "Cedar grape-stake
ceiling recalls the makeshift
commercial shacks common in Vietnam while the salvaged panel-doors used
imaginatively throughout the space suggest new doors opening. As
a final layer, contemporary Vietnamese artwork is exhibited and layered
over historical graphics. A stunning piece of work is a 15 foot
mural made of Vietnamese propaganda posters which have been shredded
and re-purposed as barcodes referencing Vietnam’s economic growth and
its 2007 entry into the World Trade Organization."
BarBao is one of those small plate
restaurants where you'd miss some of the best dishes if you didn't go
on to the big plates. My favorites among the former included a
terrific daikon duck hash
with a slow-poached egg, duck confit,
sweet soy sauce--an amalgam that is rich, intensely flavorful, and
multilayered in textures. Spring rolls were very good, made with
pork, shrimp, and jicama with a light nuoc
cham fish sauce, and the
baby lamb chop "lollipops" with japaleño pesto is a dish you'll
want to share. Order more than one. Yo may feel the same about the
luscious short rib on fragrant lemongrass skewers.
I love Vietnamese spicy beef salads, but BarBao's, with
pomelo, pineapple, chilies, and herbs was tamer than I expected, and
while yame soup with crispy
leeks, garlic oil, and rock shrimp
promised enticing goodness, it was rather starchy. None of these small
plates runs more than $14, with the spring rolls at $9.
As I said, don't skip out before
having the big plates, which include a superb crispy Berkshire pork
belly (left) with taro,
New Year's pickle, and kimchi
crosnes. I know everyone is now
cooking pork belly, and I can't find any references to the ingredient
in Vietnamese cookbooks, but this is a transformative dish and shows
how a Vietnamese-American chef can work wonders with the new by
banking on the old. Also excellent was mustard-glazed duck breast
with fresh herb noodles and golden chives. Humble Pho noodles didn't
gain much from wagyu beef and
needed all the sauce and anise
beef broth to perk it up. Asian eggplant with scallion oil and
yuzu soy cham was very
good, and although sticky rice is always fun,
this was very, very sticky indeed.
On the seafood side, I very much enjoyed
the bean-curd glazed black cod with red curry, sweet pepper stew, and
preserved lemon--it's a fish that can take a lot of spice and tang--as
well as a crispy whole red snapper, a little on the sweet side, but
perfectly fried and served with plum tomatoes, pineapples, and
Despite the French influence on Vietnamese
cuisine, desserts are not a large part of the traditional repertoire,
so I applaud the ideas on the sweets list here, including a fine
chocolate tart and a yucca peanut waffle with dulce de leche cream,
corn, and vanilla ice cream, both desserts seeming just right within
context rather than strained through some blurry fusion filter.
Disappointing, then, was a dreary Vietnamese
style coffee that wouldn't make it at a New York deli wand was much in
need of more condensed sweet milk. There are far more options
with teas given extravagant names like Ruby Sipper (blood orange),
Eve's Temptation (apple and mango), and ZZZ (chamomille and lavender).
BarBao shows considerably more brightness,
color, and finesse in its food than at the typical Vietnamese
restaurant in Chinatown, Queens, or a strip mall. It raises the bar for
flavors and textures and shows how well Michael Bao Huynh (right) has been able to show his
own personality through a cuisine he clearly respects and wants people
to love as he does.
Dinner is served nightly.
Small Plates: $8.00-$16.00; Big Plates: $16.00-$27.00; Noodles,
Rice, Vegetables, Sides: $4.00-$14.00.
THE ULTIMATE FRENCH PARADOX
France's Ministry of Health has concocted guidelines that
conclude that “The consumption of alcohol, and especially wine, is
discouraged. A single glass of wine per day will raise the chance of
contracting cancer by up to 168 per cent, claims the ministry’s
brochure." Winemakers protested, while noting that President
Sarkozy sips mineral water and orange juice and does not drink alcohol.
WRITING 101: All-Purpose Cliché Ending for Any Destination.
“Our revelry was tinged with bittersweet sadness of
parting. Whatever we’d been looking for was not found in
Santiago. It was found in our new friendships. It was in
the journey itself.”—Lori de Mori, “Happy Trails,” Gourmet (March 2009).
The Sunday Supper is returning to NYC's
Irving Mill as: A
7-Course Cook’s Tasting Menu for $45, featuring Ryan Skeen’s most
adventurous and meaty creations; A family style Sunday Supper
menu that feeds 2-3 people with things like Dale’s beer-can whole
chicken and a grilled 48 oz. bone-in shell steak.; A limited A La Carte
menu with Irving Mill’s most classic and favorite selection from the
regular menu. Call 212-254-1600.
On March 18 in National Harbor, MD, Gaylord National Resort and Old Hickory Steakhouse kicks off
2009 Wine Series with a Stag’s Leap Wine Dinner. Chef Wolfgang Birk and
Maitre d’Fromage Carolyn Stromberg welcome Jeff McBride, VP of Stag’s
Leap Wine Cellars for 6-course dinner. $125 pp. Call
301-965-2718. Guests can also receive a special discounted
room rate of $229.
Two special wine experience tours to Austria are now offered by Vintra™, together with Monika Caha,
known as a pioneer of Austrian wine in US. Visits to estates like
Forstreiter, Johann Donabaum, and Neumeister, with private and
expert guided tours and tastings, city tours, accommodation in top
hotels, and the culture and atmosphere of Vienna. Lunch and Dinner in
excellent restaurants allow to taste the regional specialties and
guarantee also culinary highlights. Visit www.vintra.at/engl/news.html.
In Santa Monica, CA, Whist will be offering weekly $25
“Wine Lover’s Nights” with any bottle from Whist’s Wine list
(valued up to $100) for just $25 on Mon. & Tues. Whist
is also announcing the return of their Sunday Buffet & Champagne
Brunch on March 22 for $39 and their upcoming interactive wine dinner
with Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars on March 25. Call 310-260-7511;
Until April 15 in Chicago,
Old Town Brasserie owner
Bob Djahanguiri shows his appreciation for his Chicago customer base
over the last 30 years by lowering his prices and offering a special
3-course Call 312-943-3000.
Hotel Ritz Madrid is offering a "Wine
Tasting from the Ritz" package, in collaboration with Bodegas Qubel Hotel, a 3-day program
with 2 nights in a Classic Room, airport limo transfers, a bottle
of cava, buffet breakfast at Goya Restaurant, transfer to Bodegas Qubel
and winery, 3-course dinner in the Goya Restaurant,. Package
starts at Euro €1219. . . .The "Gourmet Delights" package incl.
Ritz Afternoon tea in the Hall or on the Goya Terrace, 5-course
Degustation Menu (lunch or dinner), with selected wines, and buffet
breakfast, 2-night stay in a Classic Room, roundtrip airport limo
transfers, Cava upon arrival and aa book on Spanish gourmet
tapas: €995 Visit www.ritzmadrid.com.
travel experts and villa rental company in the Napa/Sonoma wine country has
created the “Ultimate Culinary Getaway,” incl. accommodations in a
5-bedroom Sonoma estate plus a nine-course dinner in the private dining
room of The French Laundry. Call 1-800-495-9961or go to
* On March 16 in Sherman Oaks, CA, Mistral restaurant
welcomes Gray Hartley, winemaker from Hitching Post Wines for a
5-course dinner at $92 pp., with wines offered at discount prices. Call
* The following bars in NYC will be offering St.
Patrick’s Day cocktail specials with Jameson Irish Whiskey as well as
special shots with Jameson Irish Whiskey. Manhattan: Puck Fare,
Ulysses, Swift. Ps 450, Vig 27, Stout, Galway Hooke; Brooklyn: Union
Pool, Union Hall.
* In Boston,
KO PRIME will offer all-you-can-eat USDA choice beef, cooked and sliced
to order until you cry “uncle,” for just $25. Also wines at half
price on Wednesdays. Call 617-772-0202; ww.koprimeboston.com.
* Alloro in NYC introduces Opera Nights, "A
Noteworthy Meal", an evening that pairs Italian opera arias and
ensembles with Italian food; every other Wed. night, opera singers from
the Noteworthies group will sing Call 212-535-2866.
* On March 22 Spenger's
Fresh Fish Grotto in Berkeley,
CA, will hold a Beer Dinner, prepared by Chef Devon
Boisen, 5 courses each paired with the perfect beer. $49.95 pp. Call
(510) 845-7771; www.spengers.com.
* On March 23 & 25 in San Francisco, Incanto will hold a “Head to Tail
Dinner” at $75 for 5 courses. Call 415-641-4500.
* On March 26 and April 30, Bar Tartine in San Francisco will host two wine
dinners with Wine Director Steve Kopp offering some rare
wines, and Chef Jason Fox will pair a
Mediterranean-inspired menu to match. March 26: Rare Gems from Napa
Valley and Beyond, $150 pp. April 30: Elegantly-Structured Wines from
Mature Bordeaux Vintages, $175 pp. Call 415-487-1600;
* On April 1, Moxie
in Cleveland holds
the 2nd annual "Fool's Frolic" to benefit Shoes & Clothes for
Kids. Tickets are $100 pp, VIP tickets are $150 and incl.
an exclusive VIP reception. Raffle to win a trip for two, courtesy of
Continental Airlines, to South Beach Miami to experience the new Red
The Steakhouse and a 3-night stay at the Eden Roc hotel. . . . On April
20 Moxie holds a 5-course Castello Banfi wine dinner, hosted by William
Whiting, Banfi's wine education director. Call 216-831-5599.
On April 8 in NYC The French Culinary Institute’s
International Culinary Center will be offering Wine
Uncorked, 3-hours of learning, tasting and food pairing, students will
discover the process of interpreting the constellations of flavor. $175
pp. Visit www.internationalculinarycenter.com.