The Feed is my weekly round up of interesting food-related stories from newspapers, magazines, blogs and websites.
The World’s 50 Best Restaurants by Restaurant Magazine.
The annual list of the best places to eat in the world is out and, after 3 years at the top, Denmark’s Noma has last its claim as the world’s top restaurant (hopefully it will be content at #2 and realize that’s still higher on this list than the millions of other restaurants in the world). The new champ is El Celler de Can Roca, a modernist restaurant in Spain. America’s top restaurant is in fifth-place: Eleven Madison Park.
Washington Post: “Spirits: A booze columnist says goodbye,” by Jason Wilson.
After 6 years of cocktail coverage during a period Wilson calls a “Golden Age of Booze,” Washington Post Food section Spirits column writer Jason Wilson is turning in his jigger. His column has been an exciting way to learn about cocktails during a period of renewed interest in fresh ingredients, speakeasies and even how molecular gastronomy can redefine what we drink. Says Wilson, “It’s a rare gift for a writer to get the chance to write about a topic at the exact moment of its cultural tipping point.” Indeed. Let’s hope he continues to write regularly on his website, Table Matters. As a parting gesture, Wilson offers versions of two of his favorite cocktails reconceived as rickeys (D.C.’s official cocktail). The Nice, based on the Antibes, sounds particularly appealing.
New York Times: “Before Rewards, Demands,” Saison restaurant review by Pete Wells.
If you’re looking to spend money on dinner and feel the $225 charged at Minibar isn’t enough, then Saison is the place for you. Wells reports the San Francisco restaurant’s tasting menu starts at $298, causing him to ask whether a restaurant that expensive, that will start without you (if you’re late, too bad), charge full price if you have to cancel sooner than 3 days in advance, and takes 3 hours for a meal is really worth it. Surprisingly, despite that setup, the answer is “yes.” I was really skeptical, but then Wells’ description of the food makes it sound really quite magical. He talks about how almost every dish is touched in some way by fire, reminding me of how Michael Pollan describes the work of Spanish Chef Bittor Arguinzoniz (Asador Etxebarri) in Cooked. Then there was the kicker…as I began reading the review, I was listening to Phil Collins’ No Jacket Required, which is apparently the kind of music they play there. I don’t quite have the $300 plus extra for drinks, tip and tax to drop on dinner, but maybe someday.
Washington Post: “A boot for D.C.’s food trucks?” by Editoral Board.
For months, the D.C. Council has been considering legislation that would effectively shutter the vibrant food truck scene that has developed in the city. Yesterday, the Post editorialized against the legislation, which would put burdensome restrictions on which trucks could go where and when. Sure, responsible food truck regulation is reasonable, particularly collecting taxes in way that’s fair to restaurants who also must pay them, but putting seemingly arbitrary limits on how much free sidewalk must be available before a truck—chosen by lottery—may pull up and start serving is ludicrous. Trucks like Fojol Bros., TaKorean, and SUNdeVICH (to name just a few among my many favorites) have done a lot to enliven the city’s culinary scene, offering a variety of affordable tastes that would otherwise be beyond reach of a downtown officeworker with $10 and 10 minutes to procure sustenance. Restaurants that feel threatened should consider that they face as much, if not more competition from their own, as new places open seemingly daily in the city. Chasing the trucks out of town is the wrong solution.
CNN Eatocracy: “Ramps, fiddleheads, fava beans and other spring vegetables about which people are freaking out,” by Kat Kinsman
If you’re visiting farmers markets these days, then you’ll be familiar with this great list of seasonal produce that isn’t typically available at your everyday grocery store: things like ramps of course, but also sunchokes, salsify and fiddleheads (a type of fern). Lots of creative potential here.
Refinery29: “3 Fun & Fizzy Drinks To Make At Home, Straight From Estadio's Bar Guru,” by Adele Chapin.
Estadio bartender Adam Bernbach shares recipes for three of the popular Spanish restaurant’s seasonal cocktails, all of which sound really quite good.
Drink DC: “Amaro Guide: Gain the Courage to Try These Classic Liqueurs,” by Swabreen Bakr.
Amari, which are Italian digestif liqueurs, are hot ingredients in cocktails (I have a bottle of Cynar in my fridge right now). Bakr has a nice guide to some popular favorites, including Cocchi Americano and Fernet Branca.