Tuesday, March 24, 2015

2015 James Beard Awards Nominees Announced

Just announced, here is the list of 2015 James Beard House Restaurant and Chef Award Nominees: 

Winners will be announced on May 4, 2015 at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. Ticket information: http://www.jamesbeard.org/awards/resources#tickets.
Best New Restaurant
Bâtard, NYC
Central Provisions, Portland, ME
Cosme, NYC
Parachute, Chicago
Petit Trois, Los Angeles
The Progress, San Francisco
Spoon and Stable, Minneapolis
Outstanding Baker

Joanne Chang, Flour Bakery + Cafe, Boston
Mark Furstenberg, Bread Furst, Washington, D.C.
Jim Lahey, Sullivan Street Bakery, NYC
Belinda Leong and Michel Suas, B. Patisserie, San Francisco
William Werner, Craftsman and Wolves, San Francisco
Outstanding Bar Program
Arnaud's French 75 Bar, New Orleans
Bar Agricole, San Francisco
Maison Premiere, Brooklyn, NY
Trick Dog, San Francisco
The Violet Hour, Chicago
Outstanding Chef
Michael Anthony, Gramercy Tavern, NYC
Sean Brock, Husk, Charleston, SC
Suzanne Goin, Lucques, Los Angeles
Donald Link, Herbsaint, New Orleans
Marc Vetri, Vetri, Philadelphia
Outstanding Pastry Chef
Dana Cree, Blackbird, Chicago
Maura Kilpatrick, Oleana, Cambridge, MA
Dahlia Narvaez, Osteria Mozza, Los Angeles
Ghaya Oliveira, Daniel, NYC
Christina Tosi, Momofuku, NYC
Outstanding Restaurant
Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Pocantico Hills, NY
Highlands Bar and Grill, Birmingham, AL
Momofuku Noodle Bar, NYC
Per Se, NYC
The Spotted Pig, NYC
Outstanding Restaurateur
JoAnn Clevenger, Upperline, New Orleans
Donnie Madia, One Off Hospitality Group, Chicago (Blackbird, Avec, The Publican, and others)   
Michael Mina, Mina Group, San Francisco (Michael Mina, RN74, Bourbon Steak, and others)
Cindy Pawlcyn, Napa, CA (Mustards Grill, Cindy's Back Street Kitchen, and Cindy's Waterfront at the Monterey Bay Aquarium)
Stephen Starr, Starr Restaurants, Philadelphia (The Dandelion, Talula's Garden, Serpico, and others)   
Outstanding Service
The Barn at Blackberry Farm, Walland, TN
Marea, NYC
Quince, San Francisco
Restaurant August, New Orleans
Topolobampo, Chicago

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Macarons, Ravioli, Oysters and James Beard: Food Events You Should Know About

Did you miss Pancake Day? Margarita Day? Decaffeinated Coffee Day? Lately I’ve been bombarded with news of special food days. It reminds me of those made-up Hallmark holidays, the ones used to sell cards, like Grandparents’ Day, Remember Your Teacher Day, and such nonsense. Well, now it seems to be all about food. Here are a few that you might want to note.

March 20 – A sweet one for sure, it’s Macaron Day. Note that the spelling is the French version, so that you won’t be expecting any of those Passover gems. This is the day that a slew of French bakeries and restaurants in the city give away free macarons a la Parisienne.  Places to check out in NYC for your freebie include Macaron Parlour, Sugar and Plumm, Epicerie Boulud and, of course, Francois Payard who modeled this event on Paris’s Jour du Macaron which falls on the first day of spring.  The full NYC list is here and tell them you’re there for Macaron Day.  This event happily has a charity component to it, as a portion of the day’s proceeds are donated to City Harvest.

Also celebrating the first day of spring (but I honestly don’t get the connection), is Ravioli Day. Various Italian restaurants around the country are sprucing up their ravioli offerings, highlighting the new and different among the tried and true red-sauce versions. For example, Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse in Manhattan has whipped up a lemon ricotta ravioli that sounds more like dessert to me than pasta, along with a prosciutto ravioli that’s served as part of a special tasting menu just for the day. If you happen to be in Los Angeles, STK LA is offering half off its famous lobster ravioli if you order an entrée as well.

March 22 – Another charity event is the Seventh Annual Sunday Supper Event at Chelsea Market in Manhattan.  Hosted by Jamestown and the James Beard Foundation, this is a benefit to raise money for not-for-profit organizations including the James Beard Foundation focusing on culinary education, Wellness in the School, and other charitable initiatives of the Jamestown Foundation. The seated dinner is a multi-course event, prepared by 20 well-known chefs and served family-style to 300 people in the middle of the market’s block-long concourse. Cocktails begin at 5pm, with dinner at 6:15. 

March 31 – The end of the month means it’s National Oyster on the Half Shell Day. Oh no! Did I miss Cooked Oyster Day? Regardless, restaurants like STK LA are upgrading you from a half-dozen of these pearls to a full dozen, gratis. That’s not bad at all.  And if you speak the magic words, “STK Loves Oysters,” you’ll get a side of Chef Robert Liberato’s “one night only mignonette.”  It's also a good excuse to check out New York's the Grand Central Oyster Bar

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Happy Birthday Bach! Free Classical Music Concerts around the World in Subways and Public Spaces on March 21

Here's a way to dive into the world of classical music -- free! Celebrate the birthday of one of the most famous composers with the Bach in the Subways program on March 21. This wonderful gift to straphangers was created by cellist Dale Henderson to celebrate German composer Johann Sebastian Bach on his birthday and is presented free in subways and public spaces around the world. So, get out on March 21 and enjoy some beautiful music from the world’s great master.

Dale, himself, will be playing in New York City at Columbus Circle (59th Street subway station) from 12am (when the program kicks off) until 1am.

A sample of other performances include:

Adrienne Adiesheh (violin) - Bach Marathan -10am
Union Station, Location C by Vignes Street, Los Angeles

Birthday Party for J.S. Bach with the Dante Trio (trumpet, saxophone, piano) – 10am-1pm
Domplatz 10, Munster, Germany

Joao Ramos Marta (flute) – 10am-8pm
Avenida 24 de Julho 5, Lisbon, Portugal

For the full schedule with 1000s of performers in dozens in countries, visit http://bachinthesubways.com .