"Prickly Pears, Sicily"
(2009) Photo by Galina Stepanoff-Dargery
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CRUISING PARADISE by
By Christopher Mariani
array of stunning volcanic islands, amber
lighted sunsets, historic culture and natives as ever gracious as when
the H.M.S. Bounty dropped anchor here, French
Polynesia is a destination still unique in the world.
breakfast each morning, I'd partake
of the Gauguin’s many optional island
enjoying the site of its maze-like coral reefs. On
one hour, including the 15-minute
break on the
shore’s white sand beach. During
this rest time, I ate my first Tahitian hot dog--a banana split in half
stuffed with the fresh coconut
on the Gauguin should surely
exceed the expectations of even veteran
cruisegoers. Food and beverage
service has gradually improved onboard the world’s high-end cruise
lines, and I
found that Grant Chilcott, Executive Chef of the Gauguin,
Tahitian dishes. Chilcott
of his career in
Sydney, Australia, where he cooked at major hotels and assisted in the
Olympic Games before he joined the Gauguin
in 2004, and he has used the years since developing the
best sources for ingredients used onboard.
tend to head back to their
for some well-needed rest, but for the few looking to continue
the night, the outdoors top deck
has a great bar and live band. Another
late-night option is to hang around the piano bar
where you can
take your chances at the blackjack table. The
section of the ship that Richard Bailey
claims to be
his next improvement project. He is also owner of the four Intercontinental
Resorts on the islands of Bora Bora, Tahiti, and Moorea.
I visited and stayed at Le
on Bora Bora, legendary for its above-water
bungalows, with unrivalled privacy set within a natural setting that
gives you a better sense of each island's individuality. More than a
century ago Gauguin himself spent ten years in Tahiti, but he
moved on when he thought the island had become too crowded. Having
spent seven days in Polynesia this spring, I found it to be as pristine
a place as I've ever been and as close to a Pacific Eden as I could
imagine. Part Two of this article will appear
Part Two of this article will appear next week
NoLita is the wholly colloquial acronym
for the neighborhood "North of Little Italy," which hasn't the tourist
appeal of surrounding areas like Little Italy itself and Greenwich
Village, the architecture of Soho, or the grungy edge of the Lower East
Side. So, a number of restaurants over the last decade have
failed to draw a crowd to the space now occupied by Kenmare, which is
actually beating away the crowds. Reservations are not easy to
prime hours, but once inside, you'll find that the cordiality of the
management is one
of Kenmare's many reasons it has become a big draw.
With just 100 seats, Kenmare is the ideal size for a casual downtown restaurant, and the noise level is much easier on the ears than at the kind of big gastro-pubs and pizzerias of the current scene. The professionalism behind the kitchen door and in the dining room is the result of a canny partnership of resto vets Lou Ceruzzi, Nur Khan, and Paul Sevigny, along with Chef Joey Campanaro of The Little Owl and Market Table to run the kitchen. Kenmare is a collaboration of four of the hospitality industry’s top operators. At the bar is Charlotte Voisey, winner of the prestigious UK Bartender of the Year award, and behind the well-composed winelist, Tracy Gribbon of Campanaro’s Blackfoot Consulting catering company.
One of the signature items Campanaro does at The Little Owl is his gravy meatball slider, made with beef, pork, veal and pecorino, and it bests just about any such rendition at any restaurant in Little Italy. His basil gnocchi, though too soft one evening, came with a short rib ragu with plenty of flavor, and lobster spaghetti had an assertive fra diavolo pepper sauce.
Halibut is a fish that needs some work to make it interesting, as far as I'm concerned, but the crispy version here with chive-mustard "stroganoff" sauce was a very smart idea whose exterior texture and juicy interior made this a winner. Grilled swordfish came with caramelized fennel, fingerling potatoes aïoli, dandelion greens and olive tapenade, all working together in the Mediterranean style, spicy but balanced, tangy, sweet, salty and briny.
"The Chicken" (left) is the bold pronouncement about a simple roast bird, as succulent as any in NYC, accompanied by grilled escarole, smoked chicken confit, and butter beans. But the best dish of all was a platter of Colorado lamb t-bones, nicely seared, well cooked, marvelously flavorful and well fatted, with toasted orzo, watercress and the crunch of almonds. Cheddar Fries with green onion, giblet gravy as an additional side dish was overwrought and not up to par with the rest of the dishes.
For dessert they keep the comfort level high with sweet endings like her ricotta cannolis, pumped with gold raisins, and her delicious wild berry and rhubarb crisp with vanilla gelato. Banana beignets with espresso zabaglione were good if not wonderful, but there was everything to enjoy about the warm, chocolate soufflé cake, a cliché these days but a fine rendering here.
Kenmare is a restaurant of the moment in two ways: It is clearly a place everybody wants to try and try early on; but it is also the kind of place that at this moment in culinary history, the food is of a kind that everybody can enjoy and will earn to go back for. When the crowds die down, Kenmare should be one of those restaurants that help transform an entire neighborhood and attract others to bring more light to the streets.
by John Mariani
(left) has been
putting a lot of its
and its reputation behind a wine that was once considered the plonk of
bistros—Chablis. About 32
million bottles of Chablis are made annually in twenty villages in
Burgundy, with about a third vinified by the co-operative La
Chablisienne. So, becoming familiar with Chablis is a maddening,
if pleasurable, life’s work. In Burgundy a single vineyard may be owned
negoçiants (merchants) who buy the grapes, must, or wine then
make their own
blends bottled under their own label. As a result, a Chablis from the
vineyard made by one negociant may taste quite different from one made
John Mariani's weekly wine column appears in Bloomberg Muse News, from which this story was adapted. Bloomberg News covers Culture from art, books, and theater to wine, travel, and food on a daily basis.
IT ALSO HAS POSSIBILITIES AS AN OIL DISPERSANT IN THE GULF
The military of Gauhati, India, has conducted tests that have convinced them that the "bhut jolokia," or "ghost chili"--accepted by Guinness World Records in 2007 as the world's hottest--can be made into a weapon of tear gas-like hand grenades to immobilize suspects. According to Col. R. Kalia, a defense spokesman in the northeastern state of Assam, "This is definitely going to be an effective nontoxic weapon because its pungent smell can choke terrorists and force them out of their hide-outs," R. B. Srivastava, the director of the Life Sciences Department at the New Delhi headquarters of the DRDO said.
IF RACHAEL RAY AND GUY FIERI HAD A
BABY, IT MIGHT BE JENNIFER SHAERTL
IF RACHAEL RAY AND GUY FIERI HAD A
BABY, IT MIGHT BE JENNIFER SHAERTL
✉ Guidelines for submissions: QUICK BYTES publishes only events, special dinners, etc, open to the public, not restaurant openings or personnel changes. When submitting please send the most pertinent info, incl. tel # and site, in one short paragraph as simple e-mail text, WITH DATE LISTED FIRST, as below. Thanks. John Mariani
OF FATHER'S DAY
* In NYC,Paradou will feature a four week World Cup promotion. Each week of the World Cup, t a menu inspired by a continent competing that week. Each menu is a 3-courses for $35 pp. Week 1 will highlight Australia, Week 2 will highlight Africa/Asia, Week 3 will highlight the Americas and Week 4 will highlight Europe. Call 212-463-8345.
* Every Wed.
this summer in NYC, The Roger Smith Hotel will hold a
Clam Bake on Henry's Roof Terrace. $25 pp.
* On June 14 in NYC, David Burke Townhouse is hosting a special wine dinner with vintner Agustin Huneeus of Quintessa winery. Chef David Burke will serve a 5-course menu of dishes paired with wines from the Napa Valley winery. 7pm. $125 pp. Call 212-813-2121 or email Katherine Leong at Katherine@davidburke.com
* On June
14-19 and 21-26, Aquavit
restaurant in NYC will
host its annual Herring
Festival during lunch and dinner in the Bistro. The herring
smorgasbord will include some classic
Swedish preparations and some
innovative seasonal specials by Executive Chef Marcus Jernmark. $24.07
pp. at lunch; $35 at dinner. Call 212-307-7311.
* On June 16 in Scottsdale, AZ, Sassi Executive Chef Peter DeRuvo presents a preview of his James Beard House dinner, "Italian Summer" being presented in NYC July 21. A five-course menu includes dessert and matching Italian wines starting with a reception of passed spuntini appetizers served in the elegant ambiance of an Old World Italian villa. $85 pp includes 5 courses and wines. Visit http://www.sassi.biz .
On June 17 in Berkeley, CA, Spenger's Fresh Fish Grotto hosts a One Fermented Evening
California Wine Dinner with a 5-course menu prepared by Chef
Boisen. $90 pp. Call 510-845-7771; http://www.spengers.com/.
* On June 20 Restaurant Kelly Liken in Vail, CO, will kick off her Summer Harvest Sunday Suppers. Chef Kelly Liken will create an original 3-course tasting menu for $45 pp inspired by the Vail Farmers’ Market featuring ingredients and products from Colorado’s prized artisans, farmers, and purveyors. Visit <http://www.kellyliken.com> or call 970-479-0175.
* On June 24 in
Kennewick, WA, the
Washington Wine Industry
Foundation presents the 10 Annual
Wine Cup. Registration is $125 pp. Visit <http://www.washingtonwinefoundation.org>
* On June 25 & 26, Executive Chef Guillaume Bienaimé of Marché in Menlo Park, NJ, will offer a 4-course menu featuring the best in Pacific Coast seafood, to benefit the Gulf Coast Oil Spill cleanup. Marché will donate $10 for each menu sold to the Louisiana Bayoukeepers, members of the Waterkeeper Alliance. $80 pp and $59 add’l for wine pairings. Call (650) 324-9092 or visit <http://www.restaurantmarche.com> .
* On June 26 Craftbar in Atlanta, GA will host a Culinary Experience with Chef de Cuisine Adam Evans, including a trip to a local farmer’s market, cooking demo and a three-course lunch with wine pairings. $85 pp. Call 404-995-7580.
* From Sept
22 – Oct 3, “Crack of Noon
France” – a new kind
of organized travel experience showcasing the country’s food, wine, and
where almost every day’s activities start after “the civilized hour of
noon.” Inclu. stops in Paris, Provence, Avignon,
Aix-en-Provence, and the French Riviera. The tour is limited to 24
passengers. Registration is due by
2010. . . . Oct 6 – 18, 2010: “Crack of Noon Italy” incl.
stops in Rome, Tuscany, Florence, Bologna, Modena, and
Venice. The tour is limited to 24 passengers. Registration is due by
2010. Request registration forms online at
Everett Potter's Travel Report:
I consider this the best and savviest blog of its kind on the web. Potter is a columnist for USA Weekend, Diversion, Laptop and Luxury Spa Finder, a contributing editor for Ski and a frequent contributor to National Geographic Traveler, ForbesTraveler.com and Elle Decor. "I’ve designed this site is for people who take their travel seriously," says Potter. "For travelers who want to learn about special places but don’t necessarily want to pay through the nose for the privilege of staying there. Because at the end of the day, it’s not so much about five-star places as five-star experiences." THIS WEEK: DRIVING THE MAINE COAST
Eating Las Vegas is the new on-line site for Virtual Gourmet contributor John A. Curtas., who since 1995 has been commenting on the Las Vegas food scene and reviewing restaurants for Nevada Public Radio. He is also the restaurant critic for KLAS TV, Channel 8 in Las Vegas, and his past reviews can be accessed at KNPR.org. Click on the logo below to go directly to his site.
Tennis Resorts Online: A Critical Guide to the World's Best Tennis Resorts and Tennis Camps, published by ROGER COX, who has spent more than two decades writing about tennis travel, including a 17-year stretch for Tennis magazine. He has also written for Arthur Frommer's Budget Travel, New York Magazine, Travel & Leisure, Esquire, Money, USTA Magazine, Men's Journal, and The Robb Report. He has authored two books-The World's Best Tennis Vacations (Stephen Greene Press/Viking Penguin, 1990) and The Best Places to Stay in the Rockies (Houghton Mifflin, 1992 & 1994), and the Melbourne (Australia) chapter to the Wall Street Journal Business Guide to Cities of the Pacific Rim (Fodor's Travel Guides, 1991). THIS WEEK: Where Bollywood Meets Beefeaters; Denver Bike Sharing.
Founded by business professionals John Manton and Kyle
McCarthy with first class travel industry credentials and global family
travel experience, the independent, family-supported FTF will provide
its members with honest, unbiased information, informed advice and
practical tips; all designed to make traveling a rewarding, healthy,
safe, better value and hassle-free experience for adults and children
who journey together. Membership in FTF will lead you to new worlds of
adventure, fun and learning. Join the movement.
All You Need to Know Before You Go
nickonwine: An engaging, interactive wine column by Nick Passmore, Artisanal Editor, Four Seasons Magazine; Wine Columnist, BusinessWeek.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.nickonwine.com.
MARIANI'S VIRTUAL GOURMET NEWSLETTER is published weekly. Editor/Publisher: John Mariani. Contributing Writers: Christopher Mariani, Misha Mariani, Robert Mariani, John A. Curtas, Edward Brivio, Mort Hochstein, Suzanne Wright, and Brian Freedman. Contributing Photographers: Galina Stepanoff-Dargery, Bobby Pirillo. Technical Advisor: Gerry McLoughlin.
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