Food (Section) Fight! is my weekly look at The Washington Post's Food section and The New York Times' Dining section with my verdict on which section had the better content for the week.
Both The Washington Post and The New York Times led today with features examining major restaurant trends: self-grown ingredients and tasting menus. Let's see who came out on top this week:
1) "Microgreens, 100 feet away," by Martha Miller. Miller's cover story looks at how chefs are increasingly growing their own ingredients, moving the farm even closer to the table. This story gives a nice insight into one of the Washington area's most acclaimed restaurants, The Inn at Little Washington, profiling the restaurant's full-time farmer, Joneve Murphy, who works the restaurant's half-acre garden plot and orchard to grow ingredients that save money and improve quality over those that might be shipped in. A generous number of recipes accompany the story, including the Inn's recipes for Brussels Sprout Petals with Coriander Vinaigrette and Pickled Cranberries and Parsnip Soup. The recipe from Chef Bonnie Moore for Chicken Braised with Fall Vegetables, Bacon and Apple Cider also sounds amazing.
2) "All signs point to a hit in San Francisco," by Anna Mindess. I enjoyed this portrait of Mozzeria, a truly unique restaurant in San Francisco that combines Chinese and Italian flavors for its pizza and small plates. Additionally, it's one of the nation's few restaurants that cater to deaf customers, not surprising when you learn it is owned by Galludet University alumni Russell and Melody Stein, who met at the D.C. university for deaf students in the mid '90s.
3) "Norwegian Salmon in Foil," Dinner in Minutes by Bonnie S. Benwick. We eat salmon a lot, so I'm often up for trying something new. At first, the idea of cooking salmon in foil seemed kind of boring, until I began reading the ingredients list, which includes peanut butter (how interesting!). Its Norwegian pedigree is also intriguing, given the current interest in Scandinavian cuisine (credit that, in part, to Noma, the Danish restaurant often heralded as the world's greatest, at least at present).
4) "Soon, wine could be coming from Amazon," Wine column by Dave McIntyre. Yes, it is true. According to the Post, Amazon.com may soon offer wine sales, leveling another blow to the traditional three-tier system with distributors as the middle men between producers and retailers. Sounds like a great idea to me. Amazon has tried unsuccessfully in 2000 and 2009 to offer wine for sale.
5) "Refreshed cocktails overcome sour memories," Spirits column by Jason Wilson. Wilson looks at the sour cocktail, which has earned a bad name ever since the introduction of sour mix. But made with fresh citrus juice, it sounds great. He offers recipes for two seasonally appropriate sours made with apple brandy.
New York Times
1) "Nibbled to Death," Critic's Notebook column by Pete Wells. Hot on the heels of my analysis of the cost of tasting menus at some of America's most prestigious restaurants, Wells takes an insightful look at the growing trend of high-end restaurants offering nothing but (very expensive) tasting menus. When they work well, it can be a magical experience, but when it doesn't, the diner can feel captive to a long meal with a big check at the end. Love the dish-by-dish photos of a 28-course dinner at New York's Atera.
2) "No Apologies Necessary," A Good Appetite column by Melissa Clark. Appealing to the perfectionist home cook in many of us, Clark writes a good column about what to do when your elaborate dinner falls short of your expectations--specifically how to save it and play it off as something else as long as it's still tasty, even it if it's not what you meant to make.
3) "A Taste of Fall In a Bottle of Hard Cider," City Kitchen column by David Tanis. Following last week's Washington Post story about cider, The Times' Tanis has a nice piece about the subject, complete with a rather delicious sounding recipe for Pork Chops with Apples and Cider.
The Washington Post. While I liked the lead stories in both publications about equally this week, I thought the rest of the Post's content was overall stronger with a nice variety of stories.
The Post pulls ahead!
The Washington Post: 20
The New York Times: 19