Restaurants

Picked for Your Plate: Top Farm to Table Restaurants for Earth Day + Every Day

Farm to table may be an overly used phrase at this point, but the underlying philosophy will always make sense. What could be better for chefs than access to hyper fresh produce and proteins raised by farmers with whom they have a personal connection? Rather than simply take what’s being offered, chefs are now making special requests for items they wouldn’t otherwise be able to find. We present three top farm to table restaurants for Earth Day that have cultivated special partnerships with farmers so they can serve their guests unparalleled – and oftentimes otherwise unavailable – vegetables, fruits, and herbs.

Travis Swikard, Culinary Director, Boulud Sud, New York, New York
“It all started three years ago, because Stokes Farm from Old Tappan, New Jersey, set up a farm stand next to the restaurant. I began talking to the farmers and ultimately started using his tomatoes. After I went on a farm tour, he offered us half his greenhouse to grow whatever we wanted. Now he grows us a ton of stuff: mustard greens, bronze fennel, pea shoots and pea flowers, pepper cress, and lemon verbena. In the fall, we use 600 pounds of his pumpkins a week — mostly Fairytales to make ravioli and Moroccan-spiced pumpkin soup. We’re also starting to develop a relationship with StarDust Farm in Pen Argyl, Pennsylvania, which we found on Instagram. We’ve been using his eggs for a year; they have bright, plump, firm yolks. They’re super-flavorful and very creamy – the way eggs are supposed to be. We put a slow poached one on top of our spring garlic aïgo boulido (pictured), which is essentially a garlic and potato velouté. This spring, they’re growing garlic for that soup, as well as peas and purple asparagus. In the summer, we’ll be getting baby spicy greens, field lettuce, chilies, piquillo peppers, five kinds tomatillos, and a bunch of different tomatoes. I have a strong drive to find the best ingredients and then make the best food with it. We want our diners to know the stories behind what they’re eating, so I like to provide the servers with some ammunition about these products so they can go to the table to let people know why it’s special.” Make a reservation at Boulud Sud.

Farm to Table Restaurants for Earth Day

Dane Sewlall, Executive Chef, Black’s Bar & Kitchen, Bethesda, Maryland
“Brett Grohsgal from Even’ Star Farm in Lexington Park, Maryland, came by the restaurant randomly one day, we got to talking, and we found out we have the same outlook on food. Everything at his farm is organic and he uses heirloom seeds. Prior to a season beginning, he’ll ask what I’m looking for. In the past, I’ve asked for green strawberries and purple and yellow cauliflower. If it’s in the realm of possibility, he’ll do it. He does a couple things for us that I haven’t seen anywhere else, including napini, which are the flowering tops of mustard greens and have a bitter, biting mustard flavor. He also grows us two edible flowers: red buds, which are pink and taste like snap peas, and little yellow arugula flowers, which have an intense arugula flavor. His pea greens are so much more flavorful and bolder than those grown hydroponically or in a hothouse. I use them to garnish our garam masala-crusted salmon (pictured), which is drizzled with a spicy tamarind sauce and is accompanied by samosas filled with potatoes, onions, and peas. As a chef, I don’t want to work with vegetables that have been on a plane or a boat for weeks on end. The longer it is out of the ground before you eat it, the more flavor it loses. So to serve stuff that’s so fresh and so local is going to give me the best possible flavors to work with.” Make a reservation at Black’s Bar & Kitchen.

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Boston Marathon Bites + Brews: The Best Post-Run Spots in The Hub

Lace up and then tie one on. Boston is a sneaker town, thanks, of course, to the celebrated Boston Marathon, which happening today — for the 120th time. Running is a way of life in Boston — year-round; even a blizzard won’t stop runners in their tracks here. They are truly Boston Strong, after all. There are many running routes, in this storied city, the most popular include the Esplanade/Charles River loop, the Emerald Necklace which begins at Boston Common and dangles to Franklin Park, Castle Island in Southie, and the Chestnut Hill Reservoir. You can always run the Freedom Trail, too. There are also many post-run spots along the way at which to to grab a craft beer — a perfectly carbalicious recovery drink — and a bite, perfect for Boston Marathon finishers or the more casual runner looking to burn calories before they get their grub on. On your mark, get set, let’s dine!

ArtBar, Cambridge, Massachusetts
The patio at this palette-and-palate-pleasing restaurant is a springtime spot for sprinters and joggers alike — especially those scurrying along the Charles River, thanks to ArtBar’s location on the running path that hugs the Charles. Throw in those patio fire pits for convo and cocktails after you’ve hit your stride(s). On Marathon Monday, it’s executive chef Brian Dandro is offering his Marathon 26.2 menu—for runners, friends, families, and fans. A buffet will feature pasta specials like gemelli, whole grain penne and gluten-free pasta (on request) served with classic marina, lamb bolognese, traditional pesto, and grilled chicken. Plus more carbs: breadsticks, ciabatta rolls, and kalamata rolls. On race day, throw back a commemorative Samuel Adams 26.2 brew or order a bottle of wine (Kenwood Yulupa Cuvee Special; $26.20 bottle, and refuel with a multi-course special menu for $26.20 — Chicken Wings (garlic, ginger, lime, sriracha, glazed peanuts), the ArtBar Burger (Niman Ranch chuck, cheddar, bacon, aioli, shoestring onions, brioche bun), a Lamb Burger (feta, chimichurri, pretzel bun), or a Porcini Mushroom Ravioli (wild mushrooms, English peas, Grana Padano broth, mascarpone, pea shoots and toasted panko); and, for dessert, the ginger crème brûlée tart hits the spot. But don’t expect ArtBar to throw in the towel after the marathon. It will be the place-to-see-and-be-seen all spring and summer, a perfect spot for runners to rewind and refuel. Make a reservation at ArtBar.

Boston Marathon

 

Mooo, Boston, Massachusetts
Luxury boutique hotel XV Beacon is home to this whimsically-named steakhouse, which is ideal for a beer and, you guessed it, a steak. Located in Beacon Hill about a mile from the Boston Marathon finish line, Moo is particularly well-suited for a post-nosh run along the Charles or through the cobblestoned streets of downtown Boston. A hoppy Harpoon IPA can help you replenish (with 14.5 to 16.5 grams of carbs per beer and 165 calories you’ll reload those carbs in no time.) Or, hoist a heartier German Radeberger Pilsner. The Whales Tale Pale Ale, a citrusy local pale ale brewed on Nantucket, is refreshing on a hot day. Light snacks include Japanese Wagyu Beef Dumplings (a mix of Kobe beef, sautéed onions, seasonings, and a Japanese dumping wrap with a ginger soy dressing). Or, go with the Shrimp Scampi (served with housemade linguini noodles —there’s a gluten-free option, too — and sautéed Gulf shrimp), for primo carb and protein reloading. Make a reservation at Mooo.

Boston Marathon

Post 390, Boston, Massachusetts
This tavern gets high fives for a lively spot for drinks (there’s a dining room here, but honestly, for a post-run meal, the tavern is perfect.) Think local craft beers and charcuterie, cheese plates, and tavern faves like Grilled Flatbreads (the Margherita with snipped basil is a favorite), a grilled Greek Steak Salad (with tomato, cucumber, kalamata olives, feta, red wine vinaigrette), and the signature Post 390 Burger or Lobster Roll. Wash it back with a local draft, such as a Jack’s Abby, House Lager Landbier, brewed in nearby Framingham. Make a reservation at Post 390.

Boston Marathon

Grill 23 & Bar, Boston, Massachusetts
You’ll want to run to this Back Bay steakhouse and seafood grill for the new bar menu that includes fun shareable items and a cocktail menu created by master sommelier Brahm Callahan. Menu standouts include the Laughing Bird Shrimp Louie (with grilled avocado, fried egg, and celery root crisps) and the Foie Gras Sliders (buns are swapped out for two halves of a homemade cider doughnut sandwiching a “decadent slab” of foie gras slathered with jalapeno jelly). Or, go for the Grill 23 Six Shooter (a spicy cerveza-base brings a kick to the region’s best oysters) Craving a burger instead? A new premium burger menu (think silver-domed service) takes the bar burger to new levels here; the Beef Burger is served with truffle cheddar, black garlic, arugula, and oven-cured tomato, for instance. Make a reservation at Grill 23 & Bar.

Boston Marathon

State Street Provisions, Boston, Massachusetts
After your run along the scenic waterfront, zip over to this newish hotspot with its parlor-like space on the waterfront, a backstroke from the New England Aquarium. You’ll want a cold one after clocking those running miles, and State Street features only beers from New England craft brewers including Baxter Tarnation Lager and Cisco Shark Tracker, two draft beers that are befitting rewards for your hard run. Pair your suds with the housemade Rigatoni (braised beef cheek, oyster mushrooms, Brussels sprout leaves and poached egg). Or, opt for the Seared Tuna Sandwich (grilled portabella, miso aioli, spiced pickled root vegetables). Make a reservation at State Street Provisions.

Boston Marathon

OAK Long Bar + Kitchen, Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel, Boston, Massachusetts
OAK is located near the Esplanade and Back Bay, so there are some terrific running paths nearby. Add to that Oak’s local beer selections and it’s a win-win. And, once patio season is in full swing, Oak is a perfect post-run spot. Bites include fried chicken wings (chipotle piquillo pepper barbecue with a saffron dipping sauce), Three Cheese Mac & Cheese (confit pork shoulder, béchamel, cheese blend), the Oak Burger (caramelized onions, Nueske’s bacon, Vermont cheddar, special sauce and brioche), and a New England Lobster Roll (with old bay fries and coleslaw). Wash it down with a local draft like Harpoon IPA, Oak Unfiltered White or a Mystic Saison “Table Beer.” Make a reservation at OAK Long Bar + Kitchen.

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Tax Day 2016 Dining Splurges: Where to Spend Your Refund

April showers bring May flowers or if you’re really lucky, the month itself brings a big fat tax refund. Since experiences bring more happiness than possessions, a big splurge dinner on the town seems like the perfect way to spend it. Here are some top picks Tax Day 2016 dining splurges to live and eat large if only for one night. please note that the most exclusive wines are available in extremely limited quantities, so it’s best to inquire ahead of time if you have your heart set on a particularly splurge-y selection.

Daniel, New York, New York
Daniel Boulud’s flagship restaurant on the Upper East Side just off of Central Park is the epitome of contemporary French extravagance. The seven-course tasting menu clocks in at $234 or $459 with wine pairings and includes signature dishes like velvety Minted Pea Soup with chicken mousse and Louisiana crayfish and garlic pennycress and can include courses of langoustines, beef, and quail with foie gras. The wine list has selections such as Chateau D’Yquem 1918 for $10,000 or Domaine de la Romanée-Conti 2009 for $15,000. Or if you’re celebrating with similarly flush-with-cash friends, how about a magnum? You can’t go wrong with the Domaine Henri Jayer Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru “Cros Parantoux”1995 for $20,000. Make a reservation at Daniel.

Tax Day 2016 Dining Splurges

Providence, Los Angeles, California
Chef Michael Cimarusti’s 2-Michelin star paean to fine dining in the heart of Los Angeles features the chef’s menu, a 12-course tasting menu with sustainable seafood from the U.S. and beyond, as well as other delicacies like prized A5 wagyu beef. Decadent touches include ossetra caviar and white truffle and black truffle fondue. It’s $220 or $325 with wine pairings. But if you’re really looking to splash out, begin your evening with a bottle of 1998 Krug Clos d’Ambonnay Champagne for $3,500 and then move on to a bottle of 2012 La Tâche Domaine de la Romanée-Conti for $4,000. Finish the evening with a bottle to remember in the way of a 1959 Staatsweingut Kloster Eberbach Riesling Auslese for $3,500. Make a reservation at Providence.

Tax Day 2016 Dining Splurges

Saison, San Francisco, California
Chef Joshua Skenes and sommelier Mark Bright have crafted one of the most unique high-end dining environments at Saison, with its open floor plan encompassing the dining room, bar, lounge, and kitchen — effectively removing all walls. The goal is to bring diners into the chef’s world, in this case, a minimalist redesign of the California Electric Light Company building. Dishes have vague and poetic names such as Fire in the Sky Beet, Bone Marrow Roasted over Coals and Sea Urchin, Liquid Toast. The prix-fixe Discovery menu is a luxe $398 for about 16 courses with an additional $298 for wine pairings. But if you want to really max out the credit cards (assuming you can pay it off with your return dough), you might consider ordering the Domaine Georges Roumier ‘Bonnes-Mares’ Grand Cru 2009 for $15,408 or ending the experience on a truly sweet note with Château D’Yquem Premiere Cru Supérieur, Sauternes 1942 for $6,888. Make a reservation at Saison.

Tax Day 2016 Dining Splurges

StripSteak by Michael Mina, Miami, Florida
Located in the historic Fontainebleau hotel on Collins Avenue in Miami, StripSteak is swank and clubby with its wood tones and rich browns. Start your meal with rare golden osetra caviar service for $295, and then indulge in a beefy entrée like the 50-ounce Australian tomahawk for $150 or the Japanese Miyazaki prefecture A5 striploin for $32 per ounce. Then gild the lily with add-on extras like half a Maine lobster tail or seared foie gras. The restaurant prides itself on having one of the largest pre-embargo Cuban cigar collections in Miami, all dating back to 1962 and earlier with prices generally in the $100-200 range but topping out at $395 for a 6-inch Montecristo. To accompany your stogie, choose a tableside Japanese whisky ceremony or perhaps a glass of 25-year Macallan for $370. Make a reservation at StripSteak by Michael Mina.

Tax Day 2016 Dining Splurges

Grace, Chicago, Illinois
This Michelin three-star restaurant is also one of the biggest splurges in Chicago. Elegant and understated, chef Curtis Duffy’s Windy City gem is upscale without being fussy. The menu offers an 8-12 course tasting menu format at $235. The dishes are described in classic minimalist style such as Alaskan King Crab, sudachi, cucumber, lemon mint or Pig Tail, endive, cauliflower, oxalis. Many dishes have Asian accents and the vegetarian “flora” menu is as captivating as the “fauna” menu, which showcases seafood and protein. The wine list features saves and splurges among 1,400 selections. Teetotalers can splurge on bespoke teas that cost upwards of $20 each. Make a reservation at Grace.

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Farm to Glass: Why Sommeliers + Wine Directors Love Grower Champagne (and You Will, Too)

Grower Champagne

Small is big. These days it seems you can’t shake a stick — reclaimed from the fallen branch of your backyard tree — without hitting a thoughtfully crafted, local product. Online marketplaces like Etsy allow artists and artisans to create and sell their wares in limited batches. In the U.S., microbreweries are popping up at record rates while drinkers are eschewing macrobrewery offerings for the more uncommon beers in their own neighborhoods. At local farmers markets, we talk with the folks who grow our favorite apple, and we’re on a first-name basis with the cow that produces our milk. (Kidding about that last one, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility, right?)

The same is happening in France’s Champagne region. Grape growers, many who once sold the entirety of their grapes to large Champagne houses (think Moët & Chandon or Veuve Clicquot, among others) are now keeping all or a portion of their harvest to create their own wholly interesting, beautifully complex sparkling wines. Referred to as “grower Champagne,” it’s not a new practice, but it’s one that has gained popularity in recent years as consumers actively seek out a more artisanal product. There’s no need to wait for New Year’s Eve or your next big life milestone to raise a glass. Sommeliers and wine directors from some of the country’s top restaurants tell us: there’s so much to celebrate about grower Champagne.

Edouard Bourgeois, Sommelier, Ca Boulud, New York, New York
“When I started at Café Boulud, the wine list didn’t differentiate between grower Champagne and Champagne from houses. Being from this region of France, I felt it was important to promote the Champagne growers by showcasing them in their own category. (The difference between the two is simple, by the way: grower Champagnes are made by a producer who grows their own grapes and vinifies them into Champagne. They control the process from A to Z. On the other hand, Champagne houses are producers who own their land but buy grapes to feed their production.) I am constantly searching for the obscure, hidden gem wines to feature on my list, and there are many in Champagne with great personalities and a real sense of terroir.” Make a reservation at Café Boulud.

Grower Champagne

Alicia Kemper, General Manager and Wine Director, fundamental LA, Los Angeles, California
“I chose to include grower Champagne because I appreciate the pureness and thoughtfulness of the wine. These winemakers could easily sell their grapes to the big houses for more money, but instead, they choose to make something extremely complicated that could all be compromised due to unfortunate weather. Champagne from the big houses often lacks in many ways, whereas most grower Champagnes over-deliver, not only in taste but in quality and terroir as well.

My favorite grape in Champagne in Pinot Meunier. A lot of people would disagree, however, when it is done right, it is out of this world! I have one Pinot Meunier dominant wine on my list: Christophe Mignon (who comes from a long line of farmers in Le-Mesnil and makes wine that is super fresh, minerally, and has amazing texture).

Aside from the Mignon and Meunier, the Larmandier-Bernier Terre de Vertus is just next-level delicious. It is from a single vineyard and doesn’t have a drop of dosage, so the terroir really shines through. After being left on its lees for nearly a year, it undergoes battonage, which gives it richness and that oh-so-lovely texture.

In terms of pairings, I love pairing Champagne with something fried or weighty — especially burgers. A lot of times people are like ‘Whaaaat?’ but then they taste them together, and often, their minds are blown.” Make a reservation at fundamental LA.

Grower Champagne

Jackson Rohrbaugh, Assistant Wine Director, Canlis, Seattle, Washington
“We love grower Champagne at Canlis because there is a closer connection between the personality of the grower and the wine in the glass. Single vineyard wines take this concept to its fullest expression. The Jérôme Prévost La Closerie “Fac-Simile,” a Pinot Meunier rosé from the village of Gueux, is one of our most treasured bottles. It provides a refreshing, fruitful palate cleanse alongside chef Brady Williams’s Barley Porridge with geoduck and green strawberry.” Make a reservation at Canlis.

Grower Champagne

Melanie Kaman, Director of Wine & Beverage, Addison, San Diego, California
“For grower Champagne, what I have found is the products are more organic, they’re anywhere from a third to half the price of the large Maisons, and they’re a lot better quality. They’re smaller production, they’re really well made, and you’re supporting local. Even if it’s not local California or local New York, you’re supporting a family of growers, not a conglomerate. You’re getting these beautiful, finely crafted, small-production Champagnes for a lower price, and, in my opinion, a better quality than some of the large houses.

We have a beautiful tasting menu with 10 or 12 courses, and we feature a dish in a caviar tin; it’s a smoked salmon rillette, and it’s topped with golden Osetra caviar from Galilee Farms in Israel, served with a warm brioche toast on the side. I always pair it with Champagne. One of my favorites recently has been Paul Bara, their Brut Rosé, and then I also really like the 2007 Gaston Chiquet Brut.” Make a reservation at Addison.

Grower Champagne

Thomas Pastuszak, Wine Director, The Nomad, New York, New York
“Grower Champagne continues to be one of the most exciting categories of wine in the world: we’re talking about producers in the Champagne region who farm their family-owned land conscientiously and meticulously, grow incredible grapes from noble terroirs, and create their own, unique expressions of their villages through the wines they are making. It’s now taken on a site-specific excitement that wine lovers only used to be able to find in places like Burgundy, the Rhone Valley, or the Mosel, and these Champagnes are some of the most incredible food wines, whether to start the meal or to finish it. At NoMad, we regularly recommend drinking a variety of styles and producers throughout our guests’ meal: the grower Champagne category lets us do that and create some amazing pairings with chef Humm’s cuisine.” Make a reservation at The NoMad.

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