I Survived A 10-Hour, 40-Course Italian Feast. Twice.

Since 2011, the proprietors of the rustic Italian restaurant Le Virtu in Philadelphia have hosted an extravagant day-long feast called La Panarda. We’re talking over 40 different courses, from salumi and cheeses to meatballs and pastas to offal and grilled meats, plus desserts. The whole thing lasts about 8 to 10 hours. Two years ago, I attended the feast for the first time and it nearly killed me. This year, I went back for seconds (times 40 or so). This time around, there’s a new chef at the helm and a whole bunch of new dishes. Take a look: Continue reading “I Survived A 10-Hour, 40-Course Italian Feast. Twice.”

The Best Hangover Food In New Orleans

In New Orleans, there are all kinds of nightspots serving good stiff drinks. The next morning, though, you may find yourself in dire need of something else, like strong coffee and belly-soothing eats. Acclaimed NOLA chef Alon Shaya introduced me to his favorite local spot for just such an occasion, Pagoda Cafe: a funky looking Asian-styled building in the Bayou St John area, featuring “bad ass coffee” (Alon’s term; personally verified) and the best damn breakfast tacos in town. Continue reading “The Best Hangover Food In New Orleans”

Cambodian Is The Greatly Underappreciated Outlier In Asian Cooking. This Needs To Change.

As a chef, Jorge Luis Hernandez is familiar with many styles of cuisine, from the Spanish-leaning avant-garde offerings at Minibar in Washington, D.C., where he once worked as executive sous chef, to the Filipino-inspired fare at Qui in Austin, where he currently serves as chef de cuisine. But he never so much as touched Cambodian food until one night in September 2013, when he, along with his bosses, chef Paul Qui and Qui’s partner Deana Saukam, stopped in Houston “for what I thought was going to be a quick bite,” Hernandez recalls. It turned out to be one of the best meals of his life. Continue reading “Cambodian Is The Greatly Underappreciated Outlier In Asian Cooking. This Needs To Change.”

Ramen 3.0: Two Former Chemists Are Engineering A Noodle Soup Revolution

ShibaRamenFINALJake Freed and his Japanese wife, Hiroko Nakamura, probably aren’t the only entrepreneurs racing to establish the nation’s first Chipotle of Ramen. These days, virtually everyone wants to create the Chipotle of Something. But it’s hard to imagine anyone else taking the same approach. They aren’t chefs or restaurateurs or food-service industrialists of any sort. They are both former chemists, and that gives the couple a unique perspective as they work to launch their new restaurant prototype, Shiba Ramen, later this year. Continue reading “Ramen 3.0: Two Former Chemists Are Engineering A Noodle Soup Revolution”

It’s Cool To Slurp Now

WebIn the old days, your mother would probably scold you for making such horrible noises at suppertime: Slurping your soup was considered poor table manners in polite American society, an egregious faux pas memorably (and quite audibly) sent up in the 1985 crime-comedy Clue. Nowadays, amid the growing influence of Asian food and Asian customs in this country, your dining companions might hardly wince at these loud sucking sounds. On the contrary, they might just join in the ruckus. In some of today’s more fashionable locales, slurping is not merely accepted. It’s downright proper. Continue reading “It’s Cool To Slurp Now”