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Dining Out in Chicago, Part Two
by John Mariani
New York Corner: Osteria Morini
by John Mariani
Man About Town: Hawkers
by Christopher Mariani
Wine: California Pinots Come of Age In Sonoma
by John Mariani
GOOD NEWS! Esquire.com now has a new food section called "Eat Like a Man," which will be featuring restaurant articles by John Mariani and others from around the USA: How to Survive Dining Out with Your Kids
CHICAGO EATS LARGE, Part Two
TO READ PART ONE OF THIS
The James Hotel
616 North Rush Street
David Burke made
mark in NYC many years back, but he's also long been a culinary
Chicago. His Prime House, in the new James Hotel, is his latest entry,
taken a gamble that it can beat some longstanding competition in this
town. If you're looking for the brash macho of Morton's or the old
of Gene & Georgetti's, this is not the place. Instead it is a
decorated and highly convivial spot with a good deal more hospitality
common in the genre; the cuts of meat are unassailably first rate, at
adamant insistence. He even has his own stud bull, named Prime, in
consistency of his beef.
108 East Superior Street
looking Chinese take-out eateries or
plasticized suburban Chinese restaurants with names like Hunan King
Dragon Lotus Garden without ever learning how sophisticated Chinese
restaurants can be or how finely tuned their service is when done
according to principles of Asian civility. These virtues, along
with fine cuisine and a posh décor, are to be found at Shanghai
Terrace, down a flight of stairs at the posh Peninsula Hotel.
Shanghai Terrace is open for lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. NB: The restaurant is closed for vacation and re-opens January 21. Appetizers run $10-$19, main courses $24-$45. Fixed price 5-course menu $82.
has opened a
Emilia-Romagna osteria that
takes its name from White’s inspirational
Gianliuigi Morini. White is serving some of the heartiest, most
since Mario Batali opened Babbo,
ristorante San Domenico in Imola,
Italy, whose sumptuous cucina moderna
far cry from the osteria style
with wicker seats, its tile floors, copper utensils, and
old black-and-white photos would not be out of place in Bologna or most
other Italian towns with trattorias this size (about 75 seats).
The place is very busy and bustling, and getting in and out of
your chairs is not at all easy, as it is not for the waiters wedging
their way through to bring you your
plates of food. Ask them to set the wine bottle on
generally allows for conversation across a table.
☛ : This week
Michael White announced he was no longer a partner at Convivio and
Alto, but remains partner at Marea and now Morini and a new restaurant Ai Fiori, to be written
about here in the upcoming weeks.
in America, offering an enormous range of diverse cuisines
obscure corner of the earth. Queens and
Brooklyn are easily the two best boroughs to
eating, packed on every street with excellent storefront Indian, Greek,
Thai, Brazilian, and
Guatemalan restaurants, just to name a few. The
food is Manhattan, where one finds Hawkers, one of the newer
ethnic restaurants in the city, run by
Chef Meng, serving
Southeast Asian dishes within an extremely casual, hip setting
located in the East Village.
To contact Christopher Mariani send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
NOTES FROM THE WINE CELLAR
CALIFORNIA PINOT NOIRS COME OF AGE IN SONOMA
by John Mariani
I’m not sure what stood out more: was it the exceptionally complex, refined flavor of the wine, or was it that it came from a California pinot noir with an alcohol level of 14.5 percent? The wine tasted more Burgundian than Californian. Still more puzzling was that I’d never even heard of the winery—Windsor Sonoma—and riffling through recent books on California and pinot noir wines turned up nothing at all.
Windsor Sonoma’s website revealed that the winery is owned by Pat Roney (below), a longtime marketer and executive at numerous California wineries as well once being CEO of the Dean & Deluca gourmet grocery chain. He bought the property for the winery only in 2007, but buys grapes from other vineyards as well.
“We try hard to achieve a Burgundy style, using 100 percent pinot noir,” said Roney, 54, in a phone interview. “We use a lot of skin contact and extended maceration, but winemaker Anthony Austin, who’s been making pinot for 32 years, focuses on the quality of the fruit, and we don’t typically filter our wines.”
So often called finicky, fickle, and capricious, pinot noir needs a cool climate and specific soil composition and is prone to mildew and rot. The greatest pinot noirs are made in Burgundy—where the grand crus can sell for $2000 and more--but even there, lesser examples may need chaptalization, a process of adding sugar to boost the alcohol to 13 percent.
Valley pinots have lacked consistency, with many so high in alcohol as
them unrecognizable as pinots. But for a decade now, Sonoma County’s
River Valley, with its cooling fog rolling in from the Pacific, has
enviable promise for making consistently fine pinots.
A few, like William Selyem’s well-balanced pinots, costing
between $49 and $90,are sold only by subscription.
I tasted a
other modern Sonoma County pinots from recent vintages and various
spreads, and found a wide range of flavors, body weight, fruit, acids,
Failla Hirsch Vineyard Sonoma
2007 ($75)—This twelve-year-old winery makes an array of pinot noirs from its
own grapes and those of other vineyards, including the well-regarded
which amounted to 475 cases. Light in color and bouquet, with 13.9
alcohol, the wine is medium bodied, with a pretty strawberry note.
18 hours apart (re-stoppered), it loosened up the next day, supple up
though the finish is neither lingering nor full-flavored. It should
be matched with tomato-based foods, like the minestrone vegetable soup
enjoyed with it for lunch.
Freeman Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
($44)—As in Burgundy, Freeman’s wines are blends from various
vineyards, in the
case of the 2007, from four from the Sebastopol Hills and Petaluma Gap,
1,804 cases made. I find it the closest to the Burgundy style of all
pinots I’ve tasted, with a velvety richness very close to wines from
the Cote d’Or.
If you’d never tasted a pinot noir in your life, this is what it’s
taste like. It’s a steal at $44.
Martinelli Vineyards Moonshine Ranch 2007 ($79).
Tuscany-born \Giuseppe Martinelli and Luisa Vellutini planted grapes in the Russian River Valley as of 1887 and began making wines, mostly zinfandel and muscat Alexandria, a few years later. Grandson Lee Martinelli took over in 1973, first as a grape grower, then, with his wife Carolyn, as a wine producer, working with renowned wine maker Helen Turley, known for producing big-bodied, plummy wines. The Moonshine Ranch, one mile from the Russian River, is made from hand-picked clusters, and the wine is neither stabilized or filtered, with just 464 cases made. At 14.6 percent alcohol the wine is nudging into the “hot” zone, with a strong nose and dried fruit flavors that make it a fine choice for spicy foods.
better the next day.
John Mariani's 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.
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism studied the DNA of violent criminals in Finland whose crimes were both "spontaneous and purposeless" and found that many were carriers of a variant of the HTR2B gene and that those with this gene variant were more likely to engage in violent impulsive behavior if they are male and have been drinking.
TRUE, VERY TRUE
combination of fat and crushed nuts, while repulsive in a human being,
this one of Queens' most desirable dishes."--Robert Sietsema, "Sohna
Punjab," Village Voice.
✉ 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
* Throughout 2011, home chefs can learn the
secrets of making pizza from chef Craig DiFonzo at Cantinetta Piero in Yountville, CA. Hands-on classes
scheduled for Feb. 8, March 8, April 5, May 10, June 7, July 12,
Aug. 9, Sept. 13, Oct. 11, Nov.15, Dec. 6. $45 pp. . . Also, learn the
simple “labor-of-love” techniques of making handmade pasta from chef
Craig DiFonzo's “Pasta Secrets Classes” for Jan. 25, Feb. 22,
March 22, April 19, May 24, June 21, July 26, Aug. 23, Sept. 27, Oct.
25, Nov. 29, Dec. 20. $55 pp. Call 707-299-5015 or visit hotellucanapa.com.
* On Feb. 1 in Wheeling, IL, Tuscany Restaurant will host a four-course DaVinci wine dinner. Vice President and General Manager of DaVinci Winery, Giovanni Nencini, will lead guests through each selection of wine paired with seasonal dishes. $65 pp. Call 630-990-1993 or visit tuscanychicago.com/tuscany-wheeling.
* On Feb. 2, Carlucci in Downers Grove, IL, will host a
wine dinner and
fundraiser featuring Wente Family Estates wines. Bridget Epp will
guests through each selection of wine paired with a 4-course dinner.
Proceeds from the dinner will benefit "Engineers Without
Borders" Canchias, Honduras Bridge Project. $55pp. Call 630-512-0990 or
West Loop Pan-Asian restaurant, will celebrates Chinese New
Year – the Year of the Rabbit – with a menu of savory specials by
their new Executive Chef Ryan
Fowler. Call 312.733.8880 or visit red-light.chicago.com.
* On Feb. 3, in Atlanta, Spice Market is hosting a
Chinese New Year celebration
with symbolic food and drink, New Year-inspired cocktails, a
special Bento Box for $30 pp, and prizes to complete the meal. At
the bar, Tsing Tao beer will be available for $5 and there will be
three different types of complimentary dumplings prepared by Chef Shaun
Suter and served all evening long. Call 404-724-2550.
* From Feb. 3-17, the Hong Kong Tourism Board will be celebrating Chinese New Year and welcoming in the “Year of the Rabbit” with a spectacular annual night parade and other grand festivities throughout Hong Kong. Incredible travel packages are available for U.S. travelers from Gala Holidays galatour.com and GloboTours. globotours.net Call 212-620-7100 for David Kleinman or Megan Vibert for more information, or visit discoverhongkong.com/usa.
Co. in San Francisco, CA,
event with henna artists and finishing with a traditional lion
$57 pp. . . .On
Feb 5, E&O Trading Co. will host a New
Zealand Wine Dinner pairing the best of New Zealand Grown Wines with a
Asian menu crafted by Chef Wong. $65 pp (incl. wine). Call
415-693-0303 or visit eotrading.com.
On February 3 in Oakland, CA, Ozumo
hosts a Sokol Blosser wine paired dinner with a five-course prix fixe
menu prepared by Chef Yo Matsuzaki. $65 pp. Call 510-286-9866; Ozumo.com/oakland.
* On Feb. 4, The Moyer Foundation is joining together with The Mario Batali Foundation to present the “Spaghetti Western” at Love Shack in Fort Worth, TX. The event will be hosted by Jamie Moyer, and world-renowned chefs Mario Batali and Tim Love. $500 pp. Call 206-298-1217 or visit TheMoyerFoundation.org.
* On Feb. 5, Chens in Chicago and Koi in Evanston will celebrate the
Chinese New Year with traditional Lion
A "Good Luck" specials menu will be available Feb. 2 - 13 featuring
Seafood Pan Fried Noodles, Lychee Chicken and more. Call 773-549-9100
or visit chenschicago.com.
Call 847-866-6969 or visit koievanston.com.
* On Feb. 6, popular family-owned restaurant Georgia’s Eastside BBQ in NYC will offer special Pigskin Pigout Packages to celebrate Superbowl XLV. The Lower East Side eatery is presenting four different catering menus designed to keep hungry football fans satisfied from kickoff through the ticker tape celebration. Full catering menus vailable at georgiaseastsidebbq.com/11_Pigskin_Pigout.jpg Or call 212-253-6280.
* On Feb 6, Chicago Cut Steakhouse will host a 4-course Superbowl prix-fixe menu including Shrimp Cocktail, Crab Cakes, Chicago Cut Bone-In Filet Mignon, Chilean Sea Bass and more paired with a bottle of Conn Creek "Herrick Red" Napa Valley or Terlato Chardonnay Russian River Valley wines while featuring the game on an 8 foot screen. $90 pp. Call 312- 329-1800 or visit chicagocutsteakhouse.com.
* On Feb. 9, El Chorro Lodge in Paradise Valley,
AZ will host 30 winemakers from Paso Robles, CA, for a Grand
over 100 wines and gourmet bites from the El Chorro kitchen. Eberle,
Hall, JUSTIN, and Victor Hugo are some of the greats planning to pour.
Wine dinners and late-night tastings take place throughout the week as
Call 800-549-WINE or visit www.pasowine.com.
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: QUEBEC WINTER CARNIVAL
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).
The Family Travel Forum - A community for those who "Have Kids, Still Travel" and want to make family vacations more fun, less work and better value. FTF's travel and parenting features, including reviews of tropical and ski resorts, reunion destinations, attractions, holiday weekends, family festivals, cruises, and all kinds of vacation ideas should be the first port of call for family vacation planners. http://www.familytravelforum.com/index.html
ALL YOU NEED BEFORE YOU GO
nickonwine: An engaging, interactive wine column by Nick Passmore, Artisanal Editor, Four Seasons Magazine; Wine Columnist, BusinessWeek.com; email@example.com; www.nickonwine.com.
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