Rebelle Yell

Chef Daniel Eddy

Chef Daniel Eddy

Has anyone noticed the renaissance of French influenced cooking, both casual and more refined, in New York City lately? It may not be quite as extensive as the explosion of Italian oriented restaurants of recent years, as visible as the rise of Ramen or other Japanese establishments, or as momentous as the mounting presence of Mexican, but the French, once the city’s most dynamic dining presence, are once again flexing their culinary muscles to reclaim a starring role in New York’s restaurant firmament. There hasn’t been a time over the last century or longer during which French food has not had influence or found favor, most strongly during the mid-Twentieth Century, but that leading role had been largely reduced in recent years despite the very capable torch bearing of people like Daniel Boulud. While Boulud’s restaurants continue to produce, they have been joined by a number of other newer establishments proudly bearing the French moniker. Places like Rotisserie Georgette from key former Boulud employee Georgette Farkas, Dirty French from the Carbone/Torrisi juggernaut, Parisian import Racines and the latest one, Rebelle from the group behind neighboring Pearl & Ash. The latter two are perhaps the most similar amongst those mentioned, as both serve relatively straightforward, but delicious French inspired cuisine from Parisian-trained chefs, that is designed to be extremely wine-friendly. Indeed, at Rebelle, the only wines served are either from France or the United States. Continue reading

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ABaC – A BarCelona Beauty

ABaC Restaurant & Hotel - front gate

ABaC Restaurant & Hotel – front gate

Climate, art and architecture are physical attributes that help make Barcelona the spectacularly beautiful city that it is. A proud people, who are warm and friendly, also help to beautify this magnificent municipality. Those are certainly integral components and prime puzzle pieces that help put everything together, but if Barcelona, Catalunya and Spain have developed a world-leading reputation over the previous 20 years, it has been for its food (futból too). For me, the cuisine of Spain is second to none and many of the finest meals of my life have been enjoyed there. Many of those restaurants, like elBulli, Tickets, Etxebarri and Mugaritz amongst others, are very well known to the culinary cognoscenti, while others are less well known. One recent meal fits into the latter category, though it really belongs in the former. A leisurely lunch at ABaC, located in the hotel of the same name near the base of the tram that ascends up to Tibidabo amusement park, proved to be an experience of stunning beauty in all aspects of the meal. Continue reading

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Big Apple BBQ 2015 – Meat, Music & Memories – Personal Highlights

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The weather forecast earlier in the week wasn’t particularly encouraging, but fortunately, in this case, at least, the lack of long-term forecasting accuracy worked out splendidly as it proved to be another perfect weekend for the 13th annual Big Apple Barbecue Block Party at Madison Square Park in the Flatiron District of New York City. It turned out to be perfect in more ways than just the weather as the lineup of pitmasters and their crews enticed with spectacular tastes both familiar and new. With the return of old favorites as well as new flames, there was plenty for everyone. For my coverage of past BABBQ’s click here. Continue reading

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Cosme – Mexican Cool in Hot New York

Chef Enrique Olvera at Cosme

Chef Enrique Olvera at Cosme

Seemingly forever, with a few notable exceptions¹, Mexican cuisine outside of Mexico has been little more than a reduction of a few, formulaic dishes, utilizing Mexican or Mexican-like ingredients that were locally available. That was indeed a major shame, as Mexican cooking is one of the world’s great and most diverse cuisines. While much of what was prepared was still quite tasty and representative of regions where the cooks emigrated from, only an extremely small range of Mexican product and cooking was represented and the extent of that high quality cooking was very limited geographically. Fortunately, that has recently been changing and the United States and even Europe has benefited from a rapid expansion of Mexican cuisine into those regions². NYC has recently seen an explosive growth in the diversity, quality and creativity of Mexican inspired cuisine and since the fall, has boasted a new restaurant from the man who is arguably the most important chef in Mexico today – Enrique Olvera³. Continue reading

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Auf Wiedersehen to Chef Joel Viehland at Community Table

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I’m a very fortunate guy. I fully realize that. I have been lucky enough to enjoy many a fine meal around the world. Good food is a priority to me and I try to engage in experiencing great food as much as I can, given relative restraints of time and finances. I  try to get to visit as many of the chefs, restaurants and locations that most intrigue me, but still, I wind up missing many experiences that I would prefer not to, just because, for whatever reasons, I could not make it to those places in time. I know, boohoo for me. That is not meant to be a whine, just a statement of fact. There are simply to many places and people of interest given my resources. I recently came very close to missing an experience, relatively in my back yard, that I had had my eye on for some time. Community Table in Washington Connecticut, with chef Joel Viehland, is one I had been jonesing about, but due to it’s off the beaten track (for me) location in Northwest Connecticut, I had never been able to find the right time to visit. It was too far from home and would require an overnight stay. My attitude changed once I discovered that Chef Viehland would be leaving the restaurant by the middle of this month. I had some time off and friends to go with. There would never be a better time, so I made it happen. I’m glad that I did. Continue reading

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Barcelona’s Boqueria with Jorge Mas

Jorge Mas at Mas Embutidos in La Boqueria

Jorge Mas at Mas Embutidos in La Boqueria

The fabled Boqueria de San Josep, as it is officially known, or just La Boqueria, as it is more commonly known, is not the only food market in Barcelona and it isn’t the only excellent market either. It is, however, by far, the most well known, and one of the finest and most recognized food markets in the world. This is because it has the magic combination of outstanding fresh product, superb artisanal product, delicious prepared product at a slew of super, small restaurants and unparalleled atmosphere as well as a strong sense of history and place in an ideal location off Las Ramblas de Catalunya. I have been a number of times in my life and wouldn’t think of visiting Barcelona without stopping in, but on this last trip, I enjoyed a particularly special visit, as I was given a personal tour by Jorge Mas, who along with his brother, Joan, is the CEO of Mas Gourmets, the largest purveyor of embutidos in Barcelona, and the Vice President of the Boqueria Market. Continue reading

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BarBas – A Barcelona Surprise



It was a Monday night when I was arriving back in Barcelona and I was meeting a couple of friends for dinner. When they told me that the restaurant they chose was located on the Rambla de Catalunya just off the Plaza de Catalunya, the most tourist-heavy plaza in the entire city, I must admit, even though my friendsare very food savvy people and would not have suggested a total dud, I harbored doubts. I had just come off an amazing lunch and wasn’t all that hungry, so I wasn’t really expecting too much. I just really wanted to spend some time with my friends.  Continue reading

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The Second Annual MENT’OR BKB Foundation Young Chef Competition Series

With Commis Skylar Stover carrying the flag, Team USA enters the stadium for the awards ceremony.

With Commis Skylar Stover carrying the flag, Team USA enters the stadium for the awards ceremony.

If you are a regular reader of this site, you know that I am an avid fan and supporter of the Bocuse d’Or and now, Ment’Or BKB, the organization behind Bocuse d’Or Team USA. In addition to their role with the Bocuse d’Or, Ment’Or BKB is charged with helping talented and motivated young chefs advance their craft, art and careers. One way they are doing this is their Young Chef Competition Series. Applications are now available for potential competitors. I have attached the Press Release for more information: Continue reading

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El Crucero – Vegetables, Vino & More in Navarra

Red cardoon

Red cardoon

When most people think of food in Spain, vegetables are not usually the first items to come to mind, More typically, most people would think of the justifiably famous jamón Ibérico de bellota, a variety of other pork products including cochinillo or roast suckling pig, or perhaps their incredible bounty from the seas around the Iberian peninsula. Given the sensational nature of each, it is not difficult to understand why those items might be the ones most closely associated with Spanish gastronomy. I have heard it said that Spain would be a very difficult country to be vegetarian or especially vegan. In a certain sense that is true as meat and fish ARE very much essential components of the cuisine, and most Spaniards don’t really understand what veganism is. The mistake, however, would be to think that because meat and fish are so important, that the Spanish don’t understand or appreciate vegetables. That couldn’t be further from the truth as the Spanish grown and cook some of the very best and most delicious vegetables in the entire world. Nowhere is that more true than in the Autonomous Community of Navarra in the northeast of the country. Continue reading

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Breaking News – Valrhona C³ Coming to the Tenth Annual StarChefs ICC in Brooklyn!

IMG_5812-2After a brief hiatus, the StarChefs International Chefs Congress is back with another competition for pastry chefs and its bigger than ever! If you are an American or Canadian pastry chef, an expert with chocolate and want to test your mettle against the very best, your dream opportunity has arrived! Valrhona, one of the world leaders in the production of top quality chocolate, sponsors what is arguably the world’s premiere Chocolate competition – the Valrhona C³. The name C³ is the cooler, shortened version of “Chocolate Chefs Competition” and has, until this coming October, always taken place in Europe. StarChefs has just announced the details of the event here, which includes a link to an application. It will be held in conjunction with the Tenth Annual StarChefs International Chefs Congress at the Brooklyn Expo Center. See here for news on the most recent competition in 2012 held at Madrid Fusíon.

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