Sam & Eddi Hart opening new dining options near Kings Cross

Check this out (link below)! And by the way their iconic Chef Jeremy Lee  of Quo Vadis was named "runner up" in a recently pubished list of Top Chefs for Brtitish Food - a ranking OTM endorses 100%. Way to go Jeremy, Sam & Eddie!!

click here to read more.


Grappa Nonino Announces 2018 Prize Winners

OTM continues to be ASTOUNDED at the innovation and energy shown by the Nonino family of Percoto, near Udine, in Friuli Venezia Giulia, in Italy’s North-East.  This year marks the 120th anniversary of their first “bricks & mortar” Grappa Distillery.  Always an artisan producer, the family took a major step forward in 1973 when Giannola and Benito revolutionized the production process for their Grappa. They decided to separate the Pomace (also known as Must) according to Grape Variety, to produce what they named Monovitigno Grappas.  We’ve been told that other Distillers thought Benito was crazy.  By the time we met the Nonino family, which was on an Easter Sunday during one of our Italy trips, Giannola & Benito’s four daughters were all involved in running the business, as they still do today.  Down the years innovation continued, to include Amaro, Noninotonic, Ue (Grapppa-like but distilled from grape juice) and honey-based liqueurs.  But the Noninos are much more than Distillers.  Starting in 1975 with the Nonino Risi D’Aur Prize, they established Nobel-like Annual Prize Awards.  The Risi prize, honors those who create a “Gold Vine Shoot”.  The Nonino Literature Prize followed in 1977, then the Nonino International Prize in 1984 and the Master of our time in 1990.  This year’s awards will be presented at a Celebration in Percoto on January 27, and details of the winners can be found at www.premio.grappanonino.it; and the whole Nonino story at www.grappanonino.it.  And fortunately Nonino products are widely distributed internationally, and can be found in the world’s best cocktail bars and restaurants.  Their elegantly designed bottles and glassware can be recognized from a distance.


In South Africa Black Rhinos get Helicopter Rides to Safe Havens

On the Menu’s Second Cousin Jo Shaw, has dedicated her career as a Zoologist to preserving threatened Species of Rhinos in the northern areas of the Republic of South Africa and adjacent countries.  We’ve always had great admiration for her dedication, but thought her work was a bit obscure – How wrong could we have been!  Tuning in to CBS 60 Minutes last Sunday , we found a segment about how Helicopters are being used as part of a program to relocate some of the shrinking population of Wild Black Rhinos from where they are threatened by Poachers to locations where they can breed safely.  You can view this fascinating story at https://www.cbsnews.com/news/saving-rhino-with-helicopters/.  Keep up the great work Jo!!


Western Pennsylvania's Jamison Farm named Conservation Farmer of the Year for 2017

OTM is delighted to recognize our long-time good friends Sukey & John Jamison on their being honored as “Conservation Farmers of the Year”, by the Westmoreland County Conservation District.  The Jamisons began their Lamb Farming operation more than 40 years ago, and over the years they have attracted the attention of many top Restaurants & Chefs, as well as Lamb Lovers everywhere in the country.  For more details about their “grass farming” method and what the Conservation Farmer Award is all about - http://wcdpa.com/about/2015-conservation-farmer-of-the-year-award/,  And to get your Jamison Farms Lamb - http://www.jamisonfarm.com/


Veteran Restaurateurs Charles Phan & Jonathon Waxman announce new ventures

At OTM we just love Charles Phan and Jonathon Waxman, both great Chefs and fine Gentlemen’  So we’re thrilled to hear that both are going to expand their Restaurant Ventures early next year.  We’ve had the opportunity to interview both on more than one occasion, most joyously when they received James Beard Best Chef Awards.  Charles is headed for new geography at The Forum Shops, Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, under its familiar name; Jon is returning to California at LA’s Westfield Century City – name not yet announced.  We’ll keep you informed as we hear more details, and you can also follow their progress through the websites of Simon Property Group & Westfield Century City, the developers for Jon & Charles respectively.


OTM crossed the Globe to bring the latest in Australian (and World) Cuisine

Back from a busy and exciting trip down-under to Melbourne and Sydney, we’ll be bringing you several weeks of interesting conversations with Australian and Worldwide Chefs, Restaurateurs, and Wine Makers.  Herewith just a review of highlights, to whet your appetite.  First to recap the reason for our journey was the coincidence of the 25th Annual Melbourne Food & Wine Festival, and the 15th World’s 50 Best Restaurant Awards which had been persuaded to head to the dynamic city which rightly claims to be Australia’s Food Capital.  50 Best attendees added to the typical hustle & bustle of Melbourne, and many (like OTM) stopped in Sydney on the way. The 50 Best Awards Gala, held in the magnificent Royal Exhibition Building dating from the late 1800s, was the usual dramatic affair, highlighted by the crowning of NYC’s Eleven Madison Park as #1, and catered in truly fabulous fashion by Neil Perry, an old acquaintance of OTM’s, now heading a vast dining empire (more about this in an extended interview coming soon to our program).  A multitude of delicious oysters and portions of great OZ beef were consumed.  We had had the chance to talk to “One to Watch” award-winner Eduard Zatruc of Barcelona’s Disfrutar, Best Female Chef Ana Ros from remote Slovenia, Biggest mover Dan Barber, of NY’s Stone Barns, Chef’s Choice Virgilio Martinez from Lima and Elena Arzak, a perennial in Top 50, and Gaston Acurio whose comments focused on how he was planning to come to the aid of the many Peruvian citizens affected by recent disastrous conditions.  Heston Blumenthal was in fine form, but way too busy.  Fortunately his head Chef at Dinner, Ashley Palmer-Watts, not only granted an extensive interview – he also cooked for us, as did David Thompson, Partner-Chef at Nahm in Bangkok, and a new group of “street food” focused Long Chim.

Among old friends we dined with, already mentioned Neil Perry treated us to Fish & Beef at Rockpool Steak & Seafood, Philippe Mouchel’s new venture was French Bistro style at its best, Gail & Kevin Donovan treated us royally at their beautifully restored facility on St. Kilda Beach, better than ever following destruction by fire.

Melbourne’s Chinatown is world famous, and Victor Liong of  Lee Ho Fook showed us how traditional Chinese can be modernized and molded to new deliciousness.  Scott Pickett of ESP, etc. proved that Modern Oz cuisine continues to develop, with Head Chef Steve Nairn serving a tasting menu of mouth-watering dishes, from a custom kitchen Scott Himself designed, twice the size of the dining room.  Peter Gunn, Chef Owner of IDES in funky Collingwood lived up to his reputation as a young “hotshot”.  And we’ve already mentioned Ashley Palmer-Watts at Dinner by Heston, where he’s developed an OZ-ingredient focused version of the concept first launched in London.

On to Sydney, OTM was thrilled to enjoy the cooking of an exciting young Chef, and a veteran of several decades in the hospitality-restaurant game, Josh Niland of St. Peter and Ross Lusted of The Bridge Room.  Josh told us his dramatic life story including  childhood illness, then described his thoughtful and inventive preparations of the great seafood still found aplenty in Australian waters – his radical ideas about how to procure, store and cook fish are quite fascinating – and the results amazing!   Ross treated us to tasting menu of quite exquisite dishes, his sommelier matched to perfection.  It was our last day down-under……………and we can’t wait to return.


Barcelona Restaurant wins World's 50 Best One to Watch Award

Right on the heels of Lasarte's 3rd Star comes more recognition for Barcelona dining.  Disfrutar in Barcelona has been named this year’s Miele One To Watch by The World’s 50 Best Restaurants. Opened in December 2014, Disfrutar is a collaboration between chefs Mateu Casañas, Oriol Castro and Eduard Xatruch. The three met while cooking at former No.1 restaurant El Bulli, where they worked alongside legendary Spanish chef Ferran Adrià.  The founders will be presented with the coveted award at The World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards in Melbourne on April 5th. The Miele One To Watch Award celebrates emerging global talent and recognises a restaurant that is outside the 50 Best itself but has the potential to rise up the list in the near future.  William Drew, Group Editor of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants, said: “Disfrutar showcases the individual talents of these three chefs and broadens their influence on Spain’s culinary scene. Their commitment to pushing the creative boundaries of gastronomy makes them worthy winners of the Miele One To Watch Award.”

Centrally located in Barcelona’s Eixample district, Disfrutar evokes a Mediterranean spirit with its décor and laid-back ambience. Beyond the entrance, guests walk past two open kitchens and are led into the spacious, whitewashed dining room that extends to an open terrace. Bright and earthen-coloured ceramics in various forms dominate the space, a symbolic nod to Barcelona’s cultural heritage and the restaurant’s focus on artistry.  While Disfrutar’s multi-course tasting menus uphold modernist culinary principles, they also reveal the chefs’ quirky personalities. Avant-garde, theatrical and inventive, each course aims to delight and excite the senses. Signature dishes include macaroni made from gelatin, tossed in truffle foam and smothered in Parmesan at the table. A deconstructed whisky tart invites guests to wash their hands in whisky and inhale the scent as they eat.  Eduard Xatruch of Disfrutar, said: “Being named this year’s winners of the Miele One To Watch Award is a huge recognition of our collective work. In addition, this award helps Disfrutar, which is a very young project, to become established and obviously encourages us to continue working and challenging ourselves.”  Disfrutar joins a stellar line-up of recent One To Watch award winners including Den in Tokyo (2016), Sepia in Sydney (2015), Saison in San Francisco (2014) and The Tasting Kitchen in Cape Town (2013).

OTM hopes to bring you an Interview with these exciting youg Chefs - we're headed for Melbourne shortly and will be covering the 50 Best Awards, nnow only 4 weeks away.


Martin Berasategui's Lasarte Restaurant wins 3rd Michelin Star

When we dined with Martín Berasategui  Basque chef and owner of an eponymous restaurant in Lasarte-Oria (Gipuzkoa), Spain, we christened him “King of Flavors” – every dish we sampled was more delicious than the one before. Thanks to the 2107 Michelin Guides, we must grant him another title, Super Star, for the 8 Total Stars Martin now holds; his Barcelona Restaurant, Lasarte (named after the San Sebastian suburb where his first 3 Star is located) was the only restaurant to gain a 3rd Star in their Main Cities of Europe (MCE) volume, just released. .Adding the 2 Stars held by MB Restaurant in Tenerife, gives Berasategui a total of 8, more than any other Chef in Spain.  Lasarte is further distinguished as the only Barcelona restaurant with 3 Stars.  It was also the only MCE based Restaurant to gain promotion to 3 Star.  https://www.restaurantlasarte.com/


Heston Blumenthal wins Diner's Club Lifetime Achievement Award at World's 50 Best Restaurant Awards

More than 10 years ago when OTM was quite new, we had the opportunity to talk for well over an hour with Chef Blumenthal, while waiting for our lunch seating at The Fat Duck in Bray, England.  We had heard rave reviews about the fascinating food, and the just gained 3rd Michelin Star had put the restaurant “on the map” for discriminating diners.  We were not to be disappointed!  What surprised us most was the thoughtfulness and modesty of this School Teacher turned Star Chef, who’s most distinguishing characteristics were closely cropped hair and heavily rimmed Eyeglasses.  What did he like to cook at home?  Roast Chicken, where was his favorite spot to dine out? A local Indian Restaurant.  Within the year Fat Duck would be named No. 1 in World’s 50 Best.  Now the accolade most prized by Chefs (it is voted on by Peers), the Diner’s Club Lifetime Achievement Award, to be handed out April 5 in Melbourne – and OTM will be there!  We’ll be bringing you news of what’s next for Heston, besides two Dinner by Heston restaurants in London & Melbourne, but his immediate reaction to the award “…… After 20 years of The Fat Duck, I now feel like I’m just starting – and those 20 years were my apprenticeship.  The future is very, very exciting”.   We’re sure there is no doubt about that!


How's California Wine Country coping with all that Rain?

Our Good Friend Joy Sterling of Iron Horse Vineyard brings us excellent news, Yes there is flooding, but also, Yes the heavily depleted Aquifers are replenshed.  To get news of Special Events at Iron Horse and obtain your supply of OTM's favorite California "Bubbles", www.ironhorsevineyards.com.


Simpson's Birmingham (UK) Chefs place 1st & 3rd in Young Chef of the Year Awards

Owner Andreas Antona & Executive Chef Luke Tipping have a track record for developing Young Chefs - a few years back 4th Chef in line cooked for Peter & Ann on Peter's Birthday, and his food didn't miss a beat, and we've enjoyed both Andreas & Luke in the kitchen.  So it's not entirely surprising that two of Simpson's up & coming Chefs would win & place in the British Culinary Federation's Young Chef Awards - the winner, Frances Attwood at the Edgebaston location and third, Andreas Doukanaras at The Cross in Kenilworth.  Congratulations to all, it's been too long since we dined with you.  http://www.simpsonsrestaurant.co.uk/.


Happy 11th Birthday to London's Roast Restaurant at Borough Market

When OTM first explored London’s Borough Market (more than 15 years ago) we didn’t know that the continued existence of this iconic landmark was in doubt, or that Iqbal Wahab was working on opening a restaurant featuring “Deliciously British Food”.  We soon found out that these two things were happening at the same time.  Iqbal wasn’t just a “Restaurateur to be”, he was one of a small group working to ensure that the owners of the Rail Tracks above the market would allow it to continue to operate.  The glorious Cast Iron frontage which now graces the Market was first evidence that something grand was coming, and 11 years ago the secret was revealed when Roast opened its doors behind the spectacular glass.  And we met Iqbal for the first time.  We’ve enjoyed great Fish & Chips (wrapped in Pink-colored Newsprint, faux Financial Times Newspaper), grand platters of Oysters, and delicious regional dishes from around Great Britain, house label British Sparkling wine – the list goes on………………  And so does Iqbal’s seemingly impossible dream.  Borough is still fun, but VERY crowded, Roast is dynamic/energetic/iconic………  Go here, but be sure to make a reservation so that you’ll be able to escape the Market’s throng.  http://www.roast-restaurant.com/


Interesting news in Michelin’s 2017 UK Red Guide.

Heston Blumenthal regains 3 Stars for Fat Duck, http://www.thefatduck.co.uk/;  Meanwhile the Bray neighbor Waterside Inn passes more than 30 years with Michelin’s top accolade, Alain Roux at the helm, http://www.waterside-inn.co.uk/.  Chef Michael Wignall keeps the  2 Stars won by Michael Caines at Gidleigh Park,  http://www.gidleigh.co.uk/; the Chutney Mary group wins a Star for Veerswamy to go along with the one at Amaya, http://www.veeraswamy.com/, pretty good for London’s oldest Indian fine dining spot, on its 90th Anniversary.  Kai’s fine Chinese dining continues to be recognized, http://www.kaimayfair.co.uk/  Philip Howard parted company with The Square, but his many fans will be pleased that he has just opened Elystan Street, http://www.elystanstreet.com/   Sadly Claude Bosi’s Hibiscus has closed, also Arbutus, Brasserie Chavot and L’Autre Pied; among those losing a Star – Launceston Place and Wild Honey.  Check out the whole list at https://www.viamichelin.co.uk/web/Restaurants


SuperChef Massimo Bottura Feeds Rio's homeless with Olympic Village Leftovers

It’s hard to get a table at Osteria Francescana in Modena, Italy, especially since Chef Massimo Bottura won the World’s Best Restaurant Award.  But his Refettorio  in Milan created at last year’s Expo Milan s still serving free meals to the poor as well as to paying customers – all based on surplus food.  Our good friend Massimo has now expanded to create Refettorio Gastromotiva in Rio, linked to surplus food from the Olympic Village.  Yesterday Chef Alex Atala of DOM, himself a World Top 10 awardee was helping prepare dinner.    The Rio project is still looking for donations (like everything Olympic it ran over budget), but we’re sure Massimo & his collaborators will fill the gap.  And look for Gastromotiva to expand beyond the 4 cooking schools it operates in Brazil with branch in Mexico City graduating its first class last month & S. Africa opening next month.  We salute Massimo for his leadership in reducing food waste on a major scale, doing much good for society in the process.  For more http://www.npr.org/sections/thetorch/2016/08/14/489987964/master-chef-turns-leftovers-into-fine-dining-for-brazils-hungry.


Outdoor Dining & Happy Hour at Lidia's Pittburgh

One of the delights of Dining in Italy is having Food & Wine Al Fresco, whether on a table, waterside at a beach or lake front, in a charming piazza...............   Now you can try this here in Pittsburgh;  Lidia's Pittsburgh has just announced the opening of a new outdoor lounge, with a special Taverna menu, signature cocktails and Italian wines.  This new menu will also be available in the main restaurant - and there'll be Happy Hour from 4.30-6.30PM Monday through Friday, with small lpates at half price, $3 off signature cocktails and selected wines for $5 a glass.  More at http://www.lidias-pittsburgh.com


Magnifico Massimo Bottura wins World's Best Restaurant Award

OTM is ABSOLUTELY THRILLED that Massimo Bottura's Osteria Francescana finally claimed the Top Spot.  We were able to congratulate our Good Friend & Chef Hero in person, despite the "packed to the walls" crowd at Cipriani Wall Street on June 13.  Hear our interview with Massimo and other 50 Best winners in tommorrow's program at http://edge1550.com/podcasts/20160619.mp3.


London's South Bank- New Menus at Roast Restaurant & a Guide from an Unexpected Source.

Roast's latest Newsletter brings some great new dining options at this spectacular Restaurant above the Borough Market - a special menu inspired by Shakespeare400, the 400th anniversary of the Bard's death on 1606; AND an all new Bar Menu, great if you're in a hurry - or (as quite often happens) no tables are open.  Head Chef Stuart Cauldwell & Owner Iqbal Wahhab will give a Warm Welcome, especially if you tell them OTM sent you.

 

OTM has always thought London's South Bank was a well-kept secret, so Peter decided to write a special guide fo Unancjhor, www.unanchor.com,  What a great surprise to see this Guide now available at www.amazon.com.  We think you'll enjoy knowing more about South Bank.  And you'll want to spend more than just a day there, http://www.amazon.com/London-Unanchor-Travel-Guide-Londons-ebook/dp/B014ODDUQE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1461075141&sr=8-1&keywords=london+unanchor+travel+guide to get your copy for a Kindle app; or http://www.unanchor.com/itinerary/london-s-south-bank-off-the-beaten-track.html for a PDF download.


What's a Refettorio? Ask Chef Massimo Bottura

OTM's great friend, Chef-Patron of Modena Italy's Osteria Francescana created Refettoria Ambrosiano as part of the Milan Expo project where 60 invited Chefs turned Salvaged Food into meals for the city's homeless.  Now Massimo's Food forSoul non-profit will expand yhe concept to other cities - there may be a Referttorio at the Brazil Olympics, one's happening in conjunction with an espablished Soup Kitchen in Bologna, Italy.  On the Menu congratulates Massimo not just for launching the cocept, but working himself to get it off the ground.  Here's how he summarises his beliefs for Food forSoul; We NEED MORE places to Unite people at the table; We NEED MORE places that REVIVE neighborhoods; We NEED MORE places that RESTORE the body & soul. OTM would say;  We need MORE PEOPLE as KIND & THOUGHTFUL as Massimo Bottura!!!!


Butcher & the Rye Pittsburgh's Bartender vies for Bartender of the Year Honors

Michael Anderson is usually found behind the Magnificent Bar ot Pittsburgh's Butcher in the Rye.  But next Monday he'll be off to NYC fo the Regional Semi-Finals of the prestigious awards, sponsored by Heaven Hill & Liquor.com.  Turns out Michael is no stranger when it comes to awards, having placed 2nd at a 2013 competition in Portland OR, also winning "Best Cocktail" honor at the Bourbon Classic.  Mike, we wish you well.  Having access to the fabulous bar program at Butcher & the Rye, must be a geat help. Owners Richard DeShantz and Tolga Sevdik must be really PROUD.  For more about the competition. www.heavenhill.com; for Butcher & the Rye, http://butcherandtherye.com/


Millie's Homemade Ice Cream opens TODAY

Many local residents, including lots of children, preveiwed the Flavors and Acccoutrements (Handmade Waffle Cones, Brioche packed with twin scoops of Gelato....................,at Millie's on Sunday.  Today they open to everyone.  And it's all DELICIOUS.  We expect the news will travel fast, but OTM wanted to extend a special welcome to owners Chad and Lauren Townsend.  It's a dream come true for them, and it will be for you too!!


Austin Food+Wine Festival just 6 weeks away

This is the 5th Annual, actual event dates April 22-24 in the Lone Star State's Vibrant Capital.  The Official List of Chefs participating in the Showcase events (Apil 23 AND April 24) has just been announced.  Check these out and get other details at www.austinfoodandwinefestival.com.


Cherry Bombe Jubilee marks 3rd year in NYC April 10

Cherry Bombe founders Kerry Diamond & Claudia Wu recentky announced that their annual Jubilee event will return to the High Line Hotel for a 3rd year,  As usual the line up of Speakers in packed with Celebrities from Food Journalism, Businesswomen from Producers & Retailers, and Top Femal Chefs from across the USA.  Tickets are on sale at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2505721.  More information at http://cherrybombe.com/


Wigle Whiskey & Allegheny Distilling are Restoring Pittsburgh's Reputation for American Whiskey

The Whiskey Rebellion is a rather obscure event in American History, and Prohibition dealt a near fatal blow to the Liquor Tradition in our home region.  But while Kentucky and Tennessee are much better known for their Intoxicating Innovations a couple of Distilleries in OTM's home town are making news.  At the recent American Craft Spirits Association Trade Show in Chicago, Allegheny Distilling, http://maggiesfarmrum.com/, took home the tasting contest’s Best in Show Award for its Single Barrel Rum and 6 more Medals.  Not to be outdone Wigle Whiskey, https://www.wiglewhiskey.com/, Pittsburgh’s 1st Distillery of the modern era, took home12 medals, more than any other participating distilleries.  Alexander Hamilton, proponent of the Liquor Tax which caused the 1791-94 Rebellion, is celebrating on Broadway, did not have anything to say about the resurgence of Pennsylvania-brewed booze. OTM says Cheers & Bottoms Up.


We Scream for Millies Homemade Ice Cream. Check out OTM's New Neighbor

Chad Townsend and Wife Lauren will open their first "Scoop Shop" just a few steps from OTM's studio.  Welcome to our neighborhood guys!!  Were'll installing a new Bathroon Scale and considering which sweet treats we'll eliminate so we have room for Millies' delicious artisinal Ice Cream in all its delicious flavors - http://www.millieshomemade.com/.  Opening Day is on the "Ides of March", but our Astrological forecast for Chad & Lauren is quite the opposite to Julius Caesar's.


Derek Stevens to open Union Standard in th Union Trust Building

Last December, Pittsburgh Magazine broke the news that Derek Stevens, the long-serving executive chef of Eleven Contemporary kitchen in the Strip District, would be leaving the big Burrito Restaurant Group to open his own restaurant.   Now Pittsburgh Magazine's Hal Klein reports more details. Last week, Stevens announced the name and location of his new concept. It will be known as Union Standard, and located in the Union Trust building Downtown. The historic building currently is undergoing a $100 million restoration. Union Standard will be housed on the ground and mezzanine floors, and across the street from Mellon Square.  “I’m just really excited to bring this vision to life and put my own creative spin on things,” Stevens said in a press release.
- See more at:http://www.pittsburghmagazine.com/Best-of-the-Burgh-Blogs/The-412/March-2016/Derek-Stevens-Announces-New-Pittsburgh-Restaurant/.  OTM extends best wishes to Derek, one of our very favorite Pittsburgh Chefs, and we're excited to hear about this positive development for this truly elegant building. Opening is scheduled this Fall.


Great News - Jamilka Borges in staying in Pittsburgh

Jamilka's innovative cuisine at Bar Marco was always such a treat.  Now we hear that she's joining Brian Pekarcik & his partner Rick Stern, and cooking in the space now occupied by BRGR in East Liberty, right next door to Spoon.  Meanwhile BRGR will be moving to a new building now under construction at the corner of Penn & Highland.  OTM sends good wishes to these adventurous restauraters.  We haven't heard the name for the new spot, but watch for more info in due course - also check http://sprestgroup.com/.


Bangkok's Gaggan Stays Atop Asia's 50 Best List

OTM congratulates Gaggan Anand, Gaggan, Bangkok, www.eatatgaggan.com; hear his interview with this Chef-Owner at the 2014 World's 50 Best where be won "highest new entry" honors.  Quite a series of achievements for an Indian Restaurant in Thailand's Capital!!


Frangiadis is Finally Back - SPORK in Garfield opens March 3

Back in November we heard from Chris(tian) that he was working on a new Dining Destination in Pittsburgh's East End.  We got confused about the name - now we know it's SPORK - named for the easting implement that combines Spoon & Fork.  Overall SPORK is an elegant space, with seating at a beautifully crafted custom wooden counter. If,  like OTM, you enjoy chatting with the Chefs in the open kitchen, that's where you'll want to sit.  What's on Chef Chris' menu? It's going to change daily, but will always include small plates, medium-sized plates (for sharing if you like), and mains if you're hungry.  We dined at SPORK last evening and quickly realized how much we had missed the bold flavors and wide-ranging ingredients that have always been Chris' signature.  And everything is done in-house including the truly great bread, charcuterie, pickles, sauerkraut.  Not sure they have a web page yet, but you can find SPORK on Facebook, or call (412) 441-1700.  Open every day at 5PM.  Best wishes Chris, welcome back!!


FRESH Turmeric - add this unique Spice to your Food AND Drink

Writing about Turmeric in the Pittsburgh Tribune Review, Ann uses the word "tantalizing" to describe this really great ingredient.  Check out Ann's article at http://triblive.com/lifestyles/fooddrink/10018663-74/turmeric-cup-teaspoon.  Not to be outdone Peter invented a new cocktail using FRESH-T, Recipe in OTM News, February 15 2016.  We just tried a new version using White Rum instead of Gin, and we think Cocktail Lovers who like a sweet-sour combination will enjoy a RUM-TUMERINI.


OTM Loves Carciofi - and it's the Right Time in Italy

Italy’s Carciofi (Artichoke) season is about to begin, can spring be far behind?  OTM was reminded by the announcement of a special menu dedicated to this relative of the Thistle – from our Great Good Friend Valter Scarbolo at La Frasca, near Udine in Friuli. Just a 90-minute drive from Venice.  http://www.lafrasca.com.  Coming up in April the village of Ladispoli not far from Rome’s Leonardo da Vinci airport celebrates with an Artichoke Festival that OTM happened upon when we stayed at luxurious La Posta Vecchia - http://www.lapostavecchia.com/en/ & http://theartichokeblog.com/ladispoli-artichoke-festival/.


Missed Meatopia 2016? Chef David Guas talks to OTM about the Meatopia Event, Cuba & much more

David Guas is the much lauded Chef-Owner of Bayou Bakery Coffee Bar & Eatery - 2 locations: Arlington VA, www.bayoubakeryva.com, & Capitol Hill, Washington DC www.bayoubakerydc.com. Proud of his Cuban Ancestry, David recounts the highlights of the memorable trip he took there with his father. He also talks about: his New Orleans upbringing, his recent participation in Meatopia at the South Beach Wine & Food Festival, http://www.sobefest.com/meatopia, his lifelong love of honey, and more. Tune in to the OTM program on February 28 for his fascinating insights.


World's 50 Best Restaurants Announces Details of the 2016 Awards in NYC

Attendees at the 2015 Awards in London heard the exciting news that W50Best was going "on the road", with NYC as the first stop away from its original home.  Now we know details of their plan; the date June 13th, the location Cipriani Wall Street.  Get more information at www.theworlds50bestresturants.com.  And you may be sure that OTM will be there to cover this exciting event.  We plan to bring you a conversation about this new direction for the Awards, which will celebrate the 15th Edition in the Big Apple, and maybe a sneak preview of what's in store for 2017 and beyond.


Aussie David Thompson Voted Lifetime Achievement Award by 50 Best Asia's Lifetime Achievement Award

Back in 2000, before we started OTM, Ann covered Sydney Restaurants for Olympics Visitors, and we were surprised to find not just 1 but 2 Thai Restaurants owned by a young Chef called David Thompson.  But this was only the beginning.  He then launched Nahm in London, winning a Michelin Star (first ever for a Thai restaurant); took Nahm to Bangkok in 2010 and opened Long Chim in Singapore last year.  Enough for a Lifetime!  But surely we can expect there'll be more achievements.  OTM congratulates Chef Thompson - who'll receive his Diner's Club Lifetime Achievement Award at the 50 Best Asian Restaurant Awards ceremony in Bangkok on Leap Year Day. For more info; www.theworlds50best..com/asia.

 

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OTM invents a New Cocktail - the Turmericini

Also known as the Turmeritini. Add about 7or 8 wafer thin slices of fresh Turmeric root, to 1 1/2 oz.English Dry Gin, in a Martini glass, preferably Artisinal Gin such as Langley's No. 8, Sipsmith's, Opihr, Bloom & Greenalls, add ice cubes, shake and/or stir depending on your preference; allow 5 minutes for the Turmeric to infuse -  liquid takes on an orange tint.  You can eat the Turmeric when you've drunk up.  Enjoy in good health - lot's of Antioxidents!!


London's Coya Restaurant celebrates the centenary of the Pisco Sour

Who knew that this iconic cocktail was created 100 years ago?  I suppose that we should have known tahe London's Peruvian-focused Coya would be "on the ball".  And you can sign up for a Class to learn the finer points of Pisco Sour imbibing and snacking - RSVP to sherene@coyarestaurant.com.  And we highly recommend that you start with lunch or stay for dinner to enjoy the GREAT dining at Coya - reservations@coyarestaurant.com.   


Gelinaz Walk with Us London - Feb 28

The first of 4 planned “Walk with Us” unique dining events will happen in London’s Shoreditch.  Chef-Owners Isaac McHale of The Clove Club & Hames Lowe of Lyle’s are the Host Chefs, who’ll be joined by 12 Top Chefs from around Europe,  Details are deliberately sketchy,  We do know that dinner will consist of 8 Starters, 4 Mains & 4 Desserts.  The actual menu items and chef assignments won’t be revealed until the evening of February 28th.  Gelinaz’s leader Andrea Petrini (hear his OTM Interview in OTM Audio Archives, program date September 15, 2013) promises “ a cross-cultural plethora of Flavor & Style”, “Guests should be prepared to have their evening shaken up”.  For more information and online ticket purchase – www.gelinaz.com.


Bon Appetit loves Beans Too!!

This month's issue of Bon Appetit contains lengthy feature article on these luxurious legumes.  But to get some really fascinating insights, tune in to today's program to hear OTM's interview with Steve Sando, Founder of Rancho Gordo, whose business offers literally hundreds of different heirloom varieties of Beans.  For example did you know that almost all varieties of beans were native to the American continent (like Potatoes and Tomatoes).  And the answer to the important questions - to soak or npt to soak & if you soak should the water be discarded or used in cooking.  Steve is alwys adding new varieties, so check www.ranchogordo.com to see what's in stock.  And never buy another can....................


Asia's 50 Best Restaurants names 2 Winners already

The suspense is over for two of Asia’s Star Chefs at the 4th Annual Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants.  Florilège in Tokyo is the recipient of the 2016 One To Watch Award sponsored by Peroni Nastro Azzurro.  Florilège’s owner-chef Hiroyasu Kawate will formally accept the award at the fourth annual Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants awards ceremony on 29th February 2016, hosted at the W Hotel in Bangkok, Thailand.  Margarita Forés, respected chef and owner of an acclaimed group of restaurants in Manila, has been named Asia’s Best Female Chef 2016. Sponsored by San Pellegrino. Forés will receive her award at the Leap Year Day event.  For more details http://www.theworlds50best.com/asia/en/asias-50-best-restaurants.html.


Randall Grahm christened "Rock Star" Winemaker

Randall is one of OTM's Favorite Wine People, and recent news shows we aren't the only ones.  Iconic Wine Writer Stewart Pigott, an Englishman now residing in NYC, recently paid Bonny Doon Vineyard's creator this enormous compliment for his Le Cigare Volant.  Read his story on the subject at http://www.stuartpigott.de/?p=7946, and for more about Randall and his wines, https://www.bonnydoonvineyard.com/.  Listen to Randall talking to OTM at OTM Audio Archives, program dates August 9 2015, March 24 2013 & September 3 2009.


Changed Access to 2004-2006 Programs

Online OTM Archive of programs from 2004-2006 has been discontinued – but Guest identities & Subjects will continue to be listed.  Listeners who would like to hear Interviews with Specific Guests, please send your request to onthemenu@onthemenuradio.com, and we will send you an MP3 if available in our back-up.  Please specify Program Date(s) & Guest Name(s) you're interested in.  Expect response within 24 hours.  Note that not all interviews are available.


70 Years On, Brennan's NOLA is BACK!!

Tears were shed when the legendary Brennan's closed its doors in 2013, Smiles and Cheers greeted News of Reopening under new Management, Ralph Brennan (a different branch of the family) and partner Terry White.  Slade Rushing, formerly Co-Chef of MiLa heads up he Kitchen at the New Brennan's, and he will be featuring a rotation of vintage favorites throughout the 70th Anniversary of Brennan's opening in 1946.  Get more details at http://www.brennansneworleans.com/, and be sure to head there to sample "a tradition restored". 


Extra Lucky New Year's Day Pork & Kraut

OTM's Recipe Created January 1, 2016.  Serves 4-6 people, or Great Leftovers.  More Good Luck!!

2 ½ Ilbs Boneless Loin Pork Chops (or 3 lbs Bone In)

¼ cup Grapeseed or other High Smoke Point Oil

1 Tablespoon BBQ Dry Rub (Stubbs preferred)

1 Tablespoon Fennel Seed

2 Tablespoons Juniper Berries

1 Large Onion, Coarsely Chopped

I Head Garlic, broken into individual Cloves and Crushed

Dry Vermouth & Gin, 1 Cup, more to taste or if more liquid required, 4:1 ratio Vermouth to Gin

32-Oz jar Organic Sauerkraut

15.5 Oz Can Black-eyed Peas, rinsed

Salt & Freshly Ground Pepper to taste

Lightly dust both sides of Chops with BBQ Rub, knead into meat surface, cover & refrigerate 4-24 hours.

Heat a large Cast Iron or Ceramic Dutch Oven. Add Oil and heat until smoking slightly. Add chops and brown on all sides – 2-3 minutes per side/edge. Remove chops and set aside.  Add Fennel Seed to pot stirring constantly for 45-60 seconds.  Add Onion, sprinkle with Salt, and stir vigorously to incorporate “brown bits.” After 10 minutes add Garlic, then continue stirring occasionally for another 10 minutes. 

Add Vermouth & Gin, and after about 5 minutes add Kraut, then freshly cracked Pepper to taste – continue stirring occasionally for another 5 minutes.  Return Chops to Pot, submerging them in the Liquid.  Cover and Simmer about 10 minutes (check Chops with meat thermometer until reading 140 degrees.)  Turn over Chops, again submerging them in the liquid. Allow dish to stand at room temperature for up to 4 hours, or refrigerate if not serving until later than 4 hours.

When ready to finish, add Black Eyed Peas stirring to distribute.  Over low heat, simmer about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Check seasoning and adjust with salt, pepper, vermouth and gin. Recover the pot and simmer 10 more minutes.  Serve with Mashed Potatoes & a Green Vegetable like Collard Greens or Kale.

 


Are Alon Shaya & David Kinch :hogging" this year's Awards?

Seriously Alon Shaya and David Kinch are THAT GOOD.  EATER, the online newsletter, picks Alon's new venture Shaya in NOLA as Best New Restaurant of the year adding even more to the reputation he earned for Domenica & Pizza Domenica.  David Kinch's Manresa, reopened after major fire damage, is recognized as Comeback of the Year, on the heels of the James Beard Rising Star Chef win by then Executive Chef Jessica Largey.  The entire Awards list is worth studying - go to www.eater.com.  And if you want to hear Alon, David & Jessica in person talking with OTM, of course you'll find them in OTM Audio Archives.


2015's been quite a year for Alon Shaya - now Esquire Best New Restaurant

OTM recognized that Alon Shaya was one of this country's outstandingly talented Young Chefs the first time we dined with him at NOLA's Domenica.  Domenica Pizza showed a more casual aspect, but we knew that Alon wouldn't really be satisfied until he could showcase the cuisine of his native Isreal.  So after winning Best Chef South at the 2015 James Beard Awards (4th time as a semi-finalist) he's now been recognized by Esquire for Shaya as Best New Restaurant.  Congratulations Alon, we can't wait to come.!!! 


SUSHISAMBA is coming to town - NYC that is

Claudio Cardoso, Head Chef at London's version of SUSHISAMBA and colleagues are doing a James Beard House Dinner, November 17, 2014.  If you love diverse, creative "world cusine" wth exciting Japanese-Brazilian-Peruvian flavors, grab the chance to sample the fare - at what is one of London's toughest tables to reserve, with a magnifient view of the City of London besides.  On a clear day the view extends all the way to the Olympic Sports Complex. In NYC they're featuring a new "Culinary Cocktail" concept.  Listen to Claudio in OTM Audio Archivess, program date April 11, 2014, recorded after a truly "sumptous repast"  For reservations in NYC phone 212-627-2308, for more about the restaurants www.sushisamba.com.


Gabe Kreuther has 2 spots in NYC 2016 Red Guide

The Modern, where Chef Kreuther initially made his name in NYC,  is the only restaurant to advance from 1 to 2 Stars (with Chef Abram Bissell now at the helm).  Gabe's own namesake restaurant is one of 10 places to win a star for the first time.  OTM remembers forecasting that Gabe & The Modern would win best new restaurant (the toughest of all the James Beard Award categories) when nominated back in 2006.  We lunched there on the very day of the awards and assured Gabe that The Modern would be the winner.  Later in the evening we asked Gabe if he had phoned his mother (in France) - he said - yes - he had phoned, but she said "I don't believe you".  Madame Kreuther perhaps you'll believe him now!


Manresa, Los Gatos CA joims the select compnay of Michelin 3-Star Restaurants

OTM joins Gourmet Diners around the world, not just around California, in congratulating David Kinch and his Great Team on this recently announced recognition.  Considering that Manresa re-opened olyn New Year's Eve 2014 after complete rebuilding from the effects of a fire which destroyed the original building, this is an amazing achievement, although not the only one in 2015  (Chef Jessica Largey won the Beard Award for Rising Star Chef 2015, then departed) .  It was only a few years ago that even savvy diners were surprised to see Chef David awarded 2 stars in  Michelin's first Red Guide for the region. Was it a  wonderful surprise for Manresa?  Kimch is such a modest man, he'd probably say so.  It certainly is no surprise to OTM and the many others who have journeyed to its home town of Los Gatos.  Go here - and before you go listen to David's interview wih us  in OTM Audio Archives, program date June 19, 2009.


Pittsburgh's Casbah Restaurant Turns Twenty

Little did the fans of Casual Eatery Mad Mex expect that 20 years after the founding of Casbah, it would still be going strong.  Like many others On the Menu whispered "you must be kidding" , when Big Burrito Founder Tom Baron and Chef Bill Fuller launched a white table-cloth "Mediterranean" restaurant just down our street.  Today on this sunny Fall Sunday valet parking is full even at Brunch-time.  With Eli Wahl now heading the kitchen, Casbah is still Ann'e favorite lunch spot, and Chef pops over to pick fresh herbs from our garden.  Tom and Bill, we salute you for your bravery, providing Pittburgers with a totally new dining experience; and for the attention to detail that has been at the heart of Casbah's success.  Here's a testament to this - Casbah is now surrounded by a dozen or more good dining options - but still holding its own.  Here's to twenty more..................  For more about Casbah, Mad Mex & the other BB restaurants go to www.bigburrito.com. 

 


Rattling OTM's Sabre takes on New Meaning

A "ceremonial" Cavalry Sabre optimized for opening Chanpagne Bottles is one of OTM's prized possessions - an unusual birthday gift at Peter's age 50 or 60 (can't remember which).  The Sabre saw its very first public appearance last weekend at the Children's Hospital Gala event, recorded for posterity by WPXI Television.  Catch the momentary glimpse of the the Sabre in action in this video stream - http://www.wpxi.com/news/news/local/joe-manganiello-serves-honorary-chair-childrens-ho/nns7x/. 


Lidia Bastianich in the News in NYC and Pittsburgh

Lidia is one busy Chef-Restauranter!!  We recently joined her for dinner at Lidia's Pittsburgh to celebrate the renovation now going on - hard to believe they've been open for 10 years - on your next visit you'll appreciate the new design of the bar area and notice the centrally placed table for large groups - bring your friends!!  We enjoyed Lobster Salad, Truffle Risotto & a beatifully cooked & sauced Pork Chop.  Lidia jetted back to NYC where she had been selected to prepare 2 diinners and a lunch for Pope Francis.  Lidia worked with Chef Angelo Vivolo, the Chefs from Felidia & Becco and her children Joe & Tanya. Lucky Pope Francis!!   All the dishes in the specially designed menus were paired with wines from Lidia & Joe's vineyards in Friuli, NE Italy, close to where Lidia was bron & raised.  OTM had the pleasure of visiting these Cantinas and the Luxury B&B Orso last fall.     For more about Lidia, her activities and restaurants, www.lidiasitaly.com & www.lidias-pittsburgh.com.