Tour Co-leader and friend, legendary chef Norman Van Aken and I at StarChefs ICC in 2014
Limited space is now available for the next Travels With Doc Culinary Tour! This will take place this coming April 15-22nd with five nights in Miami and two nights in Key West. My co-leaders will be legendary Florida chef Norman Van Aken and Charles Grabitzky of Travel Directions. We will be interacting with iconic Miami chefs Brad Kilgore, Chef Jeremiah, Giorgio Rapicavoli and Antonio Bachour, who will show us things that make the area special to them as well as experiencing their restaurants.
Click the link below for the brochure and here for the website.
Travels with Doc – Miami and the Keys
Posted in Bistronomic, Culinary Personalities, Culinary Shopping, Fine Dining, Florida, Food and Drink, Hotels, Places, Regional, Restaurants, Slow Food, Traditional Ethnic, Travel, Travel With Doc
Tagged Antonio Bachour, Brad Kilgore, Charles Grabitzky, Chef Jeremiah, Giorgio Rapicavoli, Key West, Miami, Norman Van Aken, Travel Directions, Travel With Doc
The great Massimo Bottura of Osteria Francescana
By day three of Madrid Fusion, between all the running around, not to mention the lack of sleep amidst the socializing, dining and drinking, I get pretty exhausted. Yet, the congress remains compelling, especially when the likes of the great Massimo Bottura is once again recognized with an award as “European Chef of the Year.” Bottura is more than just a great chef. Sure, his food is spectacular – creative, beautiful and delicious. He also happens to be a wonderful human being, full of energy, life, compassion and an incredible artistic disposition. He is one of my heroes and not just for his place in the culinary world. I can’t think of anyone more deserving of this award than Massimo. My day started by running into him as I was arriving at the Congress for the day. That is never a bad thing. Continue reading
Posted in Art, Bistronomic, Cocktails & Libations, Culinary Personalities, Fine Dining, Food and Drink, Food Events, Madrid Fusión, Musings, Pastry, Places, Regional, Restaurants, Science, Slow Food, Spain, Traditional Ethnic, Travel, Wine
Tagged 2016, Alex Kratena, Angel Leon, Colombia, cyborg, Gerry Dawes, Jaime Rodriguez, Jordi Roca, Jose Andres, Leonardo Pereira, Madrid Fusión, Massimo Bottura, Neil Harbisson, Palenquera, Ribera del Duero, Simon Rogan, Simone Caporale, synesthesia
Night view of La Concha Bay
Our trip was entering its home stretch, but we still had a bit more time in San Sebastián, as we returned from a stellar fish-based meal at Kaia-Kaipe in the nearby fishing town of Getaria, starting with a visit to a three Michelin star restaurant. Continue reading
Posted in Bistronomic, Cocktails & Libations, Culinary Personalities, Fine Dining, Food and Drink, Pastry, Places, Regional, Restaurants, Slow Food, Spain, Top Tastes, Traditional Ethnic, Travel, Travel With Doc, Wine
Tagged Akelarre, Bar Gorriti, basque Country, Dickens Bar, Donostia, Gerry Dawes, gintonic, Joaquin Fernández, New Basque Cooking, Northern Spain, Pedro Subijana, pintxos, Playa Zurriola, San Sebastian, Vanguardia
Jose Andres dug out from Jonas to get here.
Yesterday, I posted my favorite 24 photos of the day from Madrid Fusión and now 22 from Day Two, another informative, fun and even more delicious day. My day started with a bang with a backstage taste of a delicious and spicy Thai curry made by the great David Thompson. Unfortunately, the photo, taken with my iPhone wasn’t very good and so isn’t displayed here, but I did not want to let that fabulous flavor go unremembered. Continue reading
Posted in Bistronomic, Culinary Personalities, Fine Dining, Food and Drink, Madrid Fusión, Regional, Restaurants, Slow Food, Spain, Traditional Ethnic
Tagged Alexandre Gauthier, Andoni Luis Aduriz, David Thompson, Esmeralda Capel, Gerry Dawes, Joan Roca, Jordi Roca, Jorge Vallejo, Jose Andres, Josep Roca, Mauro Colagreco, Virgilio Martinez, Xavier Marti
The impetus was the NYC visit of a long-time virtual friend, Paul, who happens to be a chef in London. Though we have been acquainted on-line since the early days of eGullet, we had never formally met in person. Fortunately, my schedule was such that I was able to pop down to the city from upstate for a quick weekend visit to remedy that history. When we were thinking of what to do, I got the idea of knocking off a few birds with one stone. I had been wanting to experience directly for myself the burgeoning NYC barbecue scene and the one growing in my native borough of Brooklyn, in particular. This would have the added benefit of showing Paul a wide area and a varied taste of the city’s largest borough. The best part of it, though, was the opportunity to bring together some additional old friends from the days of eGullet, Joe and Sam, as well as my son, L.J., who as it fortuitously turned out, actually had the Saturday off from work and Howard, a more recent friend, who was a perfect last-minute substitute for my son, Andrew, who couldn’t make it. Continue reading
Posted in Cocktails & Libations, Culinary Personalities, Food and Drink, New York City, Places, Regional, Restaurants, Slow Food, Southern Food & Cooking, Top Tastes, Traditional Ethnic, Travel
Tagged Barbecue, beef ribs, Billy Durney, brisket, Brisket Town, Brooklyn, Cardamaro, Daniel Delaney, Delaney Barbecue, Fletcher's Brooklyn Barbecue, Gowanus, Hometown Bar-B-Que, mac and cheese, Matt Fisher, Park Slope, pork ribs, Red Hook, smoked turkey, Spiro Kouridis, Wayne Mueller, Williamsburg
Great food starts with great product.
By virtue of having spent four great dining and drinking weeks there this past year, Spain dominates this list. As a result, if there is a theme to this year’s Top Ten Dishes it is primacy of product. It was a great year for finding food in which great primary product was allowed to be itself and through the use of carefully selected accents and great and subtle technique, actually enhanced to its maximum inherent greatness. I have chosen no more than one dish from any given meal and only one example of any particular product from across all of the meals I had over this past year. Continue reading
Posted in Bistronomic, Cooking, Culinary Personalities, Fine Dining, Food and Drink, New York City, Pastry, Places, Regional, Restaurants, Slow Food, Spain, Top Restaurant Meals, Top Tastes, Traditional Ethnic, Travel
Tagged Abac, Bar El Dorado, Curaté, d'Berto, Disfrutar, El Crucero, Esquizada de Montaña, Etxebarri, Fiola Mare, Gambas Rojas de Palamós, Golden Flavors, Harry & Ida's, Hoja Santa, Kaia Kaipe, lobster ravioli, Momofuku Ko, One Restaurant, pastrami, percebes, pimientos de cristal, pulpo a la Galega, Restaurante Elias, Spain, The NoMad, turbot, zamburiñas negras
La Concha de San Sebastián
With a lunch as sensational and wonderful as the one we had at Asador Etxebarri in Axpe, going almost anywhere else after would likely be a colossal letdown. Fortunately, for our little group, we weren’t heading just anywhere. The small coastal city of San Sebastián, known as Donostia in the native Basque language of Euskera, is as close to a food nirvana as a culinary enthusiast is likely to get. A small city packed with Michelin stars and phenomenal product and restaurants small to large, San Sebastián is the perfect follow-up to Etxebarri and so it was for us. Continue reading
Posted in Bistronomic, Cocktails & Libations, Culinary Personalities, Fine Dining, Food and Drink, Hotels, Pastry, Places, Regional, Restaurants, Slow Food, Spain, Top Restaurant Meals, Top Tastes, Traditional Ethnic, Travel, Travel With Doc, Wine
Tagged 1947 Viña Bosconia, 1981 Rioja Reservas, amanita caesarea, Bar Café Santana, Bar Gorriti, basque Country, Casa Camara, Casa Nicolasa, Dickens Bar, Donostia, Elkano, Euskadi, Gerry Dawes, Getaria, gildas, gin tonic, Juan Sebastián Elcano, Kaia Kaipe, La Bretxa, La Cepa, La Concha, La Cuchara de San Telmo, La Ganbara, Museo del Whiskey, pacharan, Pasai Donibane, pintxos, San Sebastian, Travel With Doc, Txacoli, Txakolina, Txomin Etxaniz, Vermouth, vermut, Viña Albina, Viña Real, Yola Berri
Typically my list is a very international one, but to honor the landmark result of the US Team at the 205 Bocuse d’Or, I will stay within the bounds of the map of the United States for this list this year, choosing no more than one restaurant per state. As always, the list is comprised of restaurants that I have not yet visited. Last year, I only made three restaurants from my list, all in Barcelona. I hope to achieve a higher percentage this year!
Chef John Shields cooking at Saison in San Francisco
Usually my wish lists revolve around experiences totally new to me. This year, though, it is little bit different as two of my all-time favorite chefs are involved with new restaurants in new locations. Matt Lightner, formerly of Atera in NYC and John Shields, late of Townhouse in Chilhowie, Virginia have relocated to the west. Lightner has recently opened Ninebark in Napa, California, while Shields will be opening Smyth in his former home of Chicago. Both have tremendous allure for me, however, since Ninebark is already open, I will list it first.
Chef Matthew Lightner now of Ninebark in Napa, California
- Ninebark – Napa, California – Lightner is a prodigious talent, who I have come to know well. I can’t wait to see what he is doing with California product.
- Smyth – Chicago, Illinois – John Shields and his wife, Karen, both have too much to offer to not be cooking for a regular audience. Townhouse was an extraordinary meal in an out of the way, but beautiful place. Chicago is the large stage that they deserve. The website isn’t up yet, but is expected to go live in January.
- Alter, Miami, Florida – I will get there with the trip I’m leading this coming April. It is no accident that Alder is on that itinerary.
- Spoon and Stable, Minneapolis, Minnesota – Chef Gavin Kaysen, the Bocuse d’Or USA Team Coach was a star in NYC and somehow, he’s becoming an even bigger one outside Gotham.
- Ardent – Milwaukee, Wisconsin – Justin Carlisle has been largely under the national radar, but I have a strong feeling that that will be changing soon.
- Willows Inn, Lummi Island, Washington – That’s right, I STILL haven’t been!
- Stages at One Washington, Dover, New Hampshire – I’ve been watching Chef Evan Hennessy ever since he won the VitaMix Challenge at the StarChefs ICC a couple years ago.
- Angeline – New Orleans, Louisiana – One might argue that given my expressed criteria, that this restaurant shouldn’t qualify for inclusion. It is true that I have eaten in its space (a former favorite – Scott Boswell’s Stella!) and I have eaten Chef Alex Harrell’s cooking, but that was at another restaurant. This qualifies because I am super excited to experience Chef Harrell’s cooking in his own restaurant, located in a space that already has personal meaning to me. It will be a different experience for sure.
- a(muse) – Rehoboth Beach, Delaware – This restaurant is off the beaten track and off most radars, but the food that Chef Hari Cameron makes, looks and sounds fabulous.
- Restaurant Damon Baehrel at the Basement Bistro – Earlton, New York – Ironically, this is the restaurant on the list closest to where I live and the one I am least likely to ever get to as his waiting list for his small party extravaganzas is so long that he stopped adding to it. That’s a pity as reports from those who have been suggest that it is a most extraordinary experience.
Posted in California, Chicago, Culinary Personalities, Fine Dining, Florida, Food and Drink, Musings, New England, New Orleans, New York City, Pacific Northwest, Places, Restaurants, Slow Food, The Southern USA, Travel, Travel With Doc, Upstate NY
Tagged 2016, a(muse), All-American, Alter, Angeline, Ardent, Brad Kilgore, Damon Baehrel, John Shields, Matthew Lightner, Ninebark, Restaurant Wish List, Smyth, Spoon and Stable, Stages at One Washington, The Willows Inn, Willows Inn, Wish List