With the every exploding foodie craze devouring New York, a book like Ina Yalof ’s Food and the City is a peephole into the minds of those on the front lines. Cutting through the clutter of food tweets, Instagram gasto-sensational pics and verbose bloggers (present company included) Ina interviews New York’s pro chefs, restaurateurs, line cooks, street vendors, and purveyors getting to the root of their passion for their daily grind. In a lot of ways, this will reground us all to why we care so much about this newly crowned food lifestyle popularity in the first place.
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Today’s post comes on the heels of two commingled happenings. First, My Head of Culinary is trouncing about in Parma checking out brown cows and pig legs. Second, The Food Book Fair kicks off it’s 2017 edition. So, a book on Italian Street Food is more than appropriate. If any of you have spent any time in Italy, as Paola, the author of this guide to goodness, has, you know getting a bad meal is tough anywhere on the boot. But, the culinary road less traveled lies in the nooks and crannies that are street food. A rice ball, a porchetta sandwich or a panini from a stand or off the beaten path vendor with a tiny hole in the wall (literally sometimes) shop are the true diamonds in the rough of this food gem country. Paola Bacchia was born Australian but has always looked to Italy as her Italian migrant parents made it impossible not to. Her book chronicles the recipes of these undiscovered street classics in a way that only an enamored 1st generation non-Italain can. If this book redlines your drool factor, Paola hosts a cooking school in Melbourne, Australia and annual workshops at the Anna Tasca Lanza Cooking School in Sicily where you can taste some of the beauty this book reveals.
We first wrote about Chitra Agrawal when we discovered her Brooklyn Delhi products. Since then she’s been up to a lot more than just jarring delicious pickled things from India. Her latest edition to your Indian food education comes in book form with Vibrant India. South Indian cooking is not the Indian dishes that commonly pop to mind for us Americans. Having a South Indian mother-in-law has schooled me on these flavorful and light regional tastes. Chitra draws from her mother’s cooking bringing Bangalore all the way to Brooklyn where she adds her own twists to these vegetarian classics. I’ve often proclaimed, “I could go full vegetarian.” after eating at my in-laws for a weekend. As a pretty serious carnivore, that says a lot about her book and the deliciousness potential. Point is, there’s something for everyone in this book. Vegan, vegetarians, paleo or carnivore the flavors and simplicity will swoon you. We promise.
An otherworldly drink is your future, at least if it comes from Tarot of Cocktails, a deck of 30 recipe cards that promise to add some spirit to your…spirits. Created thanks to funding from a successful Kickstarter campaign, the cards have an ethereal, tarot-inspired layout featuring cocktails with names like “The Violet Twilight,” “Seer of Dreams,” and “Blood and Smoke” to make you feel like you’re communing with another world (the alcohol may help, too). The cards are mortal-friendly and aren’t meant for official divination purposes BUT we like picking a random card and letting the concoction in question predict the night ahead. We’re willing to bet that the buzz from Queen of Bees portends a better evening than The Withering Vine. But really, what do we know? It’s all in the cards, and what we see in the cards are some darn good drinks, whatever destiny awaits you.
You might know chef Ripert from his acclaimed and record holding, New York City restaurant Le Bernardin. You might know him from cameos on No Reservations with his pal Tony Bourdain. You might know his as the charming french guy with the piercing blue eyes who picked up your wind blown umbrella while struggling down 51st Street. I know him as the guy who loved my mom’s chicken cacciatore recipe after I told him the contents of the mini sandwich I served him during a Michelin awards ceremony. And, you may not know him at all. In either case, his memoir, 32 Yolks, will fix that. Starting at the beginning and ending sometime around now, follow Chef Ripert’s ups and downs in and out of the kitchen. Truly avec Eric.