Shop Like a Chef: Hush Bistro’s Chef Marc Anthony Bynum Shares His Tips

Ever wanted to shop like a chef? Want no more, as Hush Bistro’s chef Marc Anthony Bynum shares his tips to make the most of your trips to the market.

To market, to market to buy a fat pig…along with a couple of fat hens, some ducks, and maybe a side of beef. Marc Anthony Bynum, chef and owner of Hush Bistro in Farmingdale, New York, only has to stroll down the block to Farmingdale’s Main Street Meats to do most of his daily meat and poultry shopping. The Farmingdale native and two-time Food Network’s Chopped champion opened his first brick and mortar restaurant, Hush Bistro, just seven months ago, embracing both his hometown and local foodshed.

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There is no disputing that the catchphrase “farm-to-table” has become a bit overused, and, at times, misused. Bynum is fully committed to serving his patrons the best from Long Island’s farms, fisheries, and vineyards and visits these producers, ensuring his patrons get “the best of the best.” Idealistic, yet completely realistic, Bynum defines local as 500 miles from Farmingdale, which includes the rich Hudson Valley. In addition to carnivorous offerings from, literally, down the street, Bynum is “switching it up a bit and I am now working with d’Artagnan for some of the best organic meats and delicacies from upstate New York.” When shopping for beef or pork, Bynum recommends knowing the cuts; the best cuts (rump, ribs or loins) come from the back of the animal, while the working (for stews and marinating) cuts (shoulder, flank, and legs) come from the front. Don’t shy away from fat, he cautions. “Fat equals flavor.” A good cut of beef should have plenty of white flecks of fat. “A well-marbled cut is self-basting and will remain tender, moist and juicy. Super lean meats can dry out if not basted continuously,” explains Bynum.

Seafood appears, like most of Hush’s dinner offerings, as specials. Whatever is just-off-the-boat is what’s for dinner. Bynum’s number one rule when shopping for seafood is, “If it smells fishy, it isn’t fresh. Also, avoid finfish that looks slimy and has cloudy eyes, and shellfish that is gaping.”Continue Reading

Lunch Break: Meet OpenTabler Daama Sheepo

DaamaOpenTable seats more than 16 million diners each month via online bookings across more than 32,000 restaurants. Our team of talented engineers helps us meet that ever-growing demand, crafting the code that makes life delicious. Daama Sheepo is one of those folks. He’s an over-caffeinated native New Yorker who knows good food, avoids roadside fugu, and wants to eat at State Bird. Meet OpenTabler Daama Sheepo, discover his dining picks, and find out what’s on his plate in today’s Lunch Break. 

Name: Daama Sheepo

Hometown: New York City

Job Title: Director of Engineering

What that means that I do at OpenTable: Enable the conversion of caffeine to code.

Years at OpenTable: 5  Alma mater: Bard College at Simon’s Rock

I have worked in a restaurant as a dishwasher/prep cook.

The food I can’t live without: Does coffee count as food?

The one food I’ll never try: Fugu from a roadside stand.

My go-to drink or cocktail: Dry cider

The delicious dessert I refuse to share: Chocolate mousse.

My favorite thing about dining out is: Discovering new venues.

If duck is on a restaurant’s menu, I almost always order it.

My last best restaurant meal was at: Dirty Habit.

The restaurant I am a regular at: Emmy’s Spaghetti Shack.Continue Reading

Carnival Classics: 11 Indulgences Inspired by the Midway

Riding the Ferris wheel, shooting baskets for oversized stuffed animals and looking at a wiggly wobbly reflection of yourself in the fun house mirror is only part of the simple pleasures to be found at a carnival. The other part comes courtesy of the heart-clogging, high-sugar foods you’ll find for sale on the midway. This is not cutting-edge cuisine – most of it is quickly cooked in a deep fryer – nor does it pretend to be. It’s just really good food, even if it doesn’t happen to be good for you. Chefs are having fun with these lowbrow, high-calorie treats via refined riffs on carnival classics. Here are 11 indulgences inspired by the midway.

Landmarc at the Time Warner Center, New York, New York
Perhaps no treat is associated with the midway more than cotton candy. Every table at Landmarc gets a free order of the airy spun sugar confection, which comes in a revolving array of poppy colors. For once, it’s acceptable to lick your fingers in between bites.

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Provision No. 14, Washington D.C.
Usually, funnel cake arrives on a grease-dotted paper plate with nothing more than a deluge of powdered sugar. Here it is served as an accompaniment to a whole fried chicken with maple-infused gravy on the brunch menu. Any day that begins with funnel cake is bound to be a good day in our book.

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Fleur by Hubert Keller, Las Vegas, Nevada
There are the unnaturally pink hot dogs of unknown provenance cooked in dirty water at the carnival, and then there’s the one Hubert Keller makes. Forged out of Wagyu beef, it arrives in a pretzel bun with sauerkraut and a zigzag of mustard. Warning: It may spoil all other hot dogs for you, so proceed with caution.

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Anthem Kitchen & Bar, Boston, Massachusetts
Deep-frying is an art and a sport for carnival culinarians. The unhealthier the item you’re dropping in the hot oil, the better. This deep-fried Twinkie is a perfect example. Don’t worry; it comes topped with fresh berries, so you can rationalize that it’s actually good for you.

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Tico, Washington, D.C.
Chef Michael Schlow takes pillows of Manchego cheese and crusts them with thyme-accented panko to create a Latin-ish play on mozzarella sticks. The savory squares arrive with a sweet ‘n’ tangy pomegranate honey sauce for dipping. We recommend getting two orders because just one won’t do.

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Alder, New York, New York
Corndogs are a favorite at the fair. But, of course, Wylie Dufresne wasn’t going to put an ordinary version on his menu. The sausages are made with pork shoulder, chicken liver, poblano, and parsley, speared on sticks, dipped in batter, fried, and served with Meyer lemon mustard and poblano relish.

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Family Meal, Ashburn, Virginia
The joy of the jalapeño popper is biting through the crackly crust and the softened skin of the pepper to reveal the melted cheese core. Chef-owner Bryan Voltaggio has recreated that experience while putting a Southern accent on the flavors by using smoked peppadew peppers and piquant pimento cheese. Y’all will love ‘em.

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Sage, Las Vegas, Nevada
The Pink Cashmere was born when mixologist Craig Schoettler was trying to come up with a fun twist on the Cosmo. He starts by putting a puff of pink cotton candy in a Nick & Nora glass, then pours over it a mixture of Grey Goose Cherry Noir, lime juice, white cranberry juice, and simple syrup. Don’t forget to extend your pinky while sipping it.

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Rosa Mexicana, Oxon Hill, Maryland
This is a heart stopper — though perhaps corazón stopper would be more appropriate. Cinnamon-dusted buñuelos (flour tortillas) are ground up and used as a crusting for deep-fried vanilla-chocolate mole swirl ice cream, which is complemented with guajillo-raspberry sauce and whipped cream. The dessert is finished off with freshly fried churros, a staple of state fairs everywhere.Continue Reading

Daytrip Dining: 9 Top Restaurants Outside Washington, D.C. Worth the Drive #savortheroad

We didn’t tackle every delicious corner of the country in our 2015 Summer Road Trip Restaurant Guide, so we are pleased to highlight top restaurants outside Washington, D.C., that are perfect for daytrip dining — or worthy of a stop on your mid-Atlantic road trip. 

Sometimes you need to get out of the city for a little while to leave the noise and haste behind. What better reason to escape than a memorable meal? Luckily for DCists, the countryside surrounding the nation’s capital is home to a bounty of road-trip-worthy restaurants. Whether you’re in the mood for a white tablecloth treat or more casual fare, there are plenty of options. We’ve picked our nine favorite reasons to drive outside Washington, D.C., for dinner.

Smokehouse Live, Leesburg, Virginia
A 16,000 square-foot sprawl encompasses three concepts: a dining room/marketplace (Smoke), a bar (House), and a concert venue (Live). Pitmaster Jim Foss, a veteran of Hill Country Barbecue Market and Old Glory, both in D.C., oversees a pair of Ole Hickory smokers. You’d best arrive hungry. Choices include brisket, beef short ribs, pulled pork, buttermilk-brined turkey breast, chicken, Shiner Bock brats, and jalapeno-cheddar sausage, as well as sides such as succotash, deviled eggs, and mac ‘n’ cheese.

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The Ashby Inn, Paris, Virginia
You’ll find a slice of Norman Rockwell America nestled in Fauquier County. The Blue Ridge Mountains provide a stunning backdrop for this 19th-century house-turned-hotel. Expect big things from freshly appointed executive chef Patrick Robinson, an alum of the well-loved Table and Michel Richard’s now shuttered gastro palace Citronelle.

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Volt, Frederick, Maryland
One of the quintessential destination restaurants outside D.C., this bastion of modern-minded New American is the brainchild of Top Chef favorite Bryan Voltaggio. Under the watchful eye of chef de cuisine Scott Muns, who returned to the restaurant after a year at Rose’s Luxury, the restaurant continues to flourish. Dishes are equal parts innovation and tradition with plenty of flair, so expect to overpost on Instagram during dinner.

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Mokomandy, Sterling, Virginia
Cajun and Korean traditions live side-by-side, so starters might include gator croquettes and jambalaya alongside dumplings and kimchi pancakes. These contrasting culinary customs are well served by executive chef Daniel Wilcox Stevens, who has mastered both. Equal attention is given to handcrafted cocktails forged with housemade components and plenty of fresh fruits and herbs.

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Maple Ave., Vienna, Virginia
The charismatic Fairfax County outpost brings together a panoply of global influences to create singularly enticing results. Shrimp and grits get an assist from blueberry venison sausage, seared scallops come with basil ice cream and coconut risotto, and wings are doused in a mixture of crème fraîche, gochujang (Korean red pepper paste), and oyster sauce.

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