To quote George Harrison “All things must pass” and so will Gourmet magazine after 68 years of publication.  The “foodie world” has been holding wakes on and off line and wondering what is the future of food journalism.   Surely the emergence of the food network and online food blogs have been stiff competition.  Many years ago as a young sous chef I would pick up back issues of Gourmet for a dollar in a used bookstore for inspiration.  I still have my Saveur and occasionally pick up Art of Eating and will have to re-visit Food and Wine  once again.Collector's Editions

These are the things I will miss most about Gourmet:

–                 Great cover art – the last few years the cover design has become more minimal with gorgeous yummy close up photos of food, playing up texture and color with a stunning contrasting background, A+ for design

–                 Letter from the editor – I’m sure we will be hearing a lot more from Ruth Reichl but I will miss her monthly observations and how she brought the fancy pants travel/gourmet magazine back down to earth.

–                 Jane and Michael Stern’s Roadfood – a couple of former art historian’s who landed the perfect job,  I’m so jealous of you two!

–                 Articles on current issues and politics of food – under Ruth Reichl, Gourmet started to offer articles about food politics.  Anyone who is a food or wine enthusiast knows the origins of food and how it’s grown is the key to great ingredients.

–                 Fantasy dinner party photo shoots-will someone please invite me to one of these shindigs!

–                 The Thanksgiving issue- includes several traditions along with a vegetarian option, they really cover all the bases.

–                 Good Living-Obsessions, recommendations of tools and stuff from various food peeps.

–                 The August harvest issue – coverage on different farms and coops.

–      The special collector’s issues on France and Italy – luckily I’ve saved a few…….

I love this table!


Love letter to Paul, Flatiron Sept. 09

Cheers, to Paul

The word love gets tossed around a lot these days.  Outside of familial and romantic love, there are books written and movies made about the love of pets, wine and pork belly.  We simply love to talk about whatever we have elevated to that “love” level.

Which brings me to last weekend, when I had a reunion with my New York restaurant ‘family’ up at the Flatiron Steakhouse in Redhook, New York.  We all worked together at a restaurant in midtown for too many years to count – but even now that we have moved on to bigger and better things, we still share that “love bond” that only people in the dining trenches would understand.

Flatiron Bistro, Redhook, NY

The former chef (Craig Stafford) and bartender (Jessica Stingo) of our clan opened the Flatiron Bistro in Redhook, New York, a little over a year ago.  I  have to say that I love, love, love these people and apparently so does the rest of Hudson Valley. The restaurant is thriving and recently won best new steakhouse in Hudson Valley.

Craig Stafford Chef

The weekend love-fest was a celebration of a visit from Paul, our former general manager, who left 3 years ago to return home to Australia. There is something about Aussies: it seems they have the hospitality business in their DNA.  Paul could charm a collar off a hungry tiger.   The most difficult customers were putty in his hands.  Paul introduced us to Kylie Minoque and cut crystal vodka shots. His British wit and humor, style and warmth earned him a following and customers were hopelessly devoted to him.  He now runs the private dining room for J.P. Morgan in Sydney.  To celebrate Paul’s visit we all decided to gather for the weekend up in Red Hook at Jess and Craig’s and feast at the Flatiron.

Bartender Chris

Redhook is just minutes away from the more upscale town of Rhinebeck – but it is recently becoming a hot restaurant scene in its own right.  Flatiron is on the main drag.  The restaurant is  not flashy — decorated with neutral colors with black and white photos adorning the walls. The vegetables and meat are sourced locally when possible and the menu changes seasonally. But at its heart, the menu is centered around steaks (flatiron, flank, filet and rib-eye, with a 5 oz. or  8 oz. portion size) with a variety of sauces and sides to choose from.  Each visit I have a new favorite sauce — chimicurri, homemade steak sauce, pecorino truffle fondue.   There is also an inventive burger menu which offers duck with duck egg and cracklin’s,  merguez spiced lamb,  traditional beef and roasted eggplant with brown rice.  In addition there are several fish and seafood options along with oysters, raw and roasted.  Craig’s roasted oysters are not to be missed! I used to say I prefer raw, but I have been swayed to the other side with these.

Flatiron Cheese Plate

The night began at the bar with a cheese plate and some Muscadet before we moved to our table. The bar is in the front of the restaurant and has a great selection of small batch bourbon, local and imported beers, tap and bottle and a great cocktail list.  Chris the bartender is sexy, sassy and knowledgeable.  He went to the CIA and also worked in a local brewery.  It is great to have a bartender who knows food and wine and has an educated opinion.Jessica Stingo

Wine-wise, we started off the main part of the evening with the Tablas Creek ‘Esprit de Beaucastel Blanc’ 2006.  Produced by the Chateau de Beaucastel’s California property, it is fashioned after a white Chatauneuf-du-pape with Rousanne and Grenache blanc.  It was soft, buttery and honeyed, with a dry mineral finish — a perfect full bodied white that screams ‘it’s autumn!’  At this point the appetizers just streamed out of the kitchen.  First roasted oysters and a crab salad with avocado, garbanzos, radish and frisee – this was a meal in itself, a perfect contrast of textures and flavors.  Then came the  local quail and an amazing steak tartare with fried parsley.

porterhouse left, filet, right

At this point I felt completely sated; every dish was so complete and satisfying I could have stopped here.  And one of the many brilliant details at the Flatiron is the warm roll that comes with a small ramiken of butter with sea salt.   Just one perfect little roll, crusty on the outside and pillowy on the inside.  Bread is a hard sell these low-carb days, but it is so great to have one small round of perfection.  Jessica does all the in house baking, besides the rolls there are English muffins for the burgers and bread sticks for the bar.

We plowed on, opening a bottle of 1999 Malvira Trinita for the entrees.  This was amazing nebbiolo from Roero, a region just north of Barolo which has become more known for its white wines (especially Arneis).  It was the perfect time for this vintage – we enjoyed the clean red fruit that is set off by earth and tar notes, an herbaceous nose, and supple tannins.  By the way, the logo on the bottle is one of the best in Piedmont and would make a fine tattoo. I ordered a filet au poivre with a potato artichoke gratin. If you’re going to go the steak and potatoes route, this is the road to take, in my opinion.  Paul went big with the 16oz. porterhouse which he declared to have a perfect fat/meat ratio.

Wow, this was really a tremendous and memorable meal.  Thanks Jess and Craig, we love Love LOVE the Flatiron, and see you in another three Paul…………..flatiron bar

Paul's new tatoo