Chef Michael Schlow on His New Restaurant, Peruvian Fusion + Why Boston Is So Beyond Clam Chowder

The savory, crispy chip made from hazelnuts and Parmigiano-Reggiano that chef Michael Schlow was toiling to get just right for this month’s opening of his third outpost of Alta Strada in Washington, D.C., may be his very latest culinary triumph. But, in a larger sense, Schlow, a James Beard Award winner for Best Chef in the Northeast, has helped change the dining profile of what are considered two of the seaboard’s stodgiest cities. With a recent ninth feather in his toque that also includes Latin cuisine at Tico restaurants in D.C. and his adopted hometown of Boston, his newly opened Greek restaurant, Doretta, and a cutting-edge late-night fusion menu, he’s come a long way from cracking eggs as a kid.

michael schlow headshot

What’s your earliest cooking memory?
My mother allowing me to cook omelets for my brother and sister. She would be at work, and I would “experiment” on them with my cooking, making horrible concoctions and then forcing them to eat the omelets, no matter how gross.

You’re from Brooklyn — and New York is one of the world’s culinary epicenters — why stay based in Boston?
Boston has been home for more than 20 years, and I love living here; we have great friends, a terrific food community, and the city has so many amazing attributes that I can’t really imagine living anywhere else.

You obviously witnessed a local culinary evolution of sorts; do you think Bostonians are more adventurous these days?
Bostonians are definitely into their food and their chefs — the days of cod, baked beans, and chowder defining Boston cuisine are over for sure! We have so many diverse and interesting restaurants to choose from now that it’s a world-class food destination with some of the best chefs in the country.

Speaking of diversity, how do you transition to different types of cuisine given the fact that you have Italian, Latin, Greek restaurants … do you have a favorite?
I don’t have a favorite, but if you were to come to our house, I’d probably serve simple Italian food.

alta strada spaghetti and clams

Can you give us a sneak peek of something you may be up to — Peruvian, perhaps?
We are working on a few really fun things right now. I’m excited about the Nikkei late-night menu that’s a fusion of Peruvian and Japanese at Tico Boston. It’s really interesting food and totally cures any late-night cravings. [Served 10PM-1AM Thursday-Saturday, recent offerings include crispy short rib gyoza with panca, toasted onion, and sesame.]Continue Reading

2016 James Beard Award Winners + a Look Inside Michael Murphy’s Rosé Bowl

Trust us when we say that you’re pretty much guaranteed a delicious meal when you dine with a 2016 James Beard Award winner. We were in Chicago to cheer on all the nominees and celebrate this year’s recipients. Before the big event, we attended Michael Murphy’s Rosé Bowl at Momotaro. We’ve got some bubbly pics from photographer Lynzie Hazan, and then scroll down for our list of the chef and restaurant 2016 James Beard Award winners.

Winners include:

Best New Restaurant
Shaya, New Orleans, Louisiana

Outstanding Restaurant
Alinea, Chicago, Illinois

Outstanding Restaurateur
Ken Friedman, The Breslin, New York, New York

Outstanding Service
Eleven Madison Park, New York, New York

Outstanding Wine Program
Bern’s Steakhouse, Tampa, Florida

Outstanding Chef
Suzanne Goin, Lucques, West Hollywood, California

Rising Star of the Year
Daniela Soto-Innes, Cosme, New York, New York

Outstanding Pastry Chef
Dahlia Narvarez, Osteria Mozza, Los Angeles, California

Best Chef: Great Lakes
Curtis Duffy, Grace, Chicago, Illinois

Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic
Aaron Silverman, Rose’s Luxury, Washington, D.C.

Best Chef: Midwest
Paul Berglund, The Bachelor Farmer, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Best Chef: New York City
Jonathan Waxman, BarbutoContinue Reading

May 2016 Restaurant Weeks: Savings in Arizona + Oregon

May 2016 Restaurant Weeks

Enjoy dining discounts in Arizona and Oregon this month…

* Oregon Wine Month is something to cheer about (and t0!) with its month-long celebration of Oregon wineries across the state. Participating restaurants will offer special Oregon wine lists, wine flights, or specialty prix-fixe, three-course menus through May 31. Make a reservation.

* Arizona Restaurant Week invites you to take advantage of special multi-course $33 or $44 three-course meals, May 20-29. Make a reservation.Continue Reading

Hallelujah! 5 Top Gospel Brunches

Get ready to raise the roof; there’s nothing quite like a gospel brunch. Powerful, soul-searching music, Southern-inspired soul food, and celestial cocktails — even church never felt so good. These top gospel brunches offer the faithful fantastic chicken and waffles and shrimp and grits, along with heavenly voices, welcoming Southern hospitality, and a sweet side of spirituality. Preach!

Ginny’s Supper Club, New York, New York
Rise and shine! New Yorkers have been praising the gospel brunch in the Red Rooster’s downstairs area known as Ginny’s Supper Club for years. Chef Marcus Samuelsson creates sinful comfort food like cornbread (with honey butter and tomato jam), Mac & Greens (New York cheddar and Parmesan – plus lobster if you like); Fried Yardbird (dark meat, white mace gravy, mashed potatoes, and bread and butter pickles); Shrimp & Grits (cheddar grits, piri piri, and frogmore stew), The Bird and the Egg (fried chicken, waffle, and red eye gravy) and Rum Cake with Strawberries (caramel and Thai long peppercorn ice cream). Order a Bloody Mary or Red Eye Rooster (Bloody Mary and beer) and worship your meal while listening to local talent like the gospel sounds of Vy Higginsen’s Choir. Make a reservation at Ginny’s Supper Club.

gospel brunches

Halls Chophouse, Charleston, South Carolina
Clap along with the Plantation Singers who perform gospel every Sunday at this much-lauded family steakhouse. Traditional brunch items are served with twists like French toast that’s prepared with a lavender-scented brioche and cornflake crust. You can also expect a helping of traditional Southern food like Shrimp & Grits and the Lowcountry Omelet (shrimp, crab, peppers, and onions, cheddar and Swiss, collard greens, pepper jack grits, and hash brown potatoes). Throw in a side of collard greens along with a Bloody or Bellini (Champagne, peach schnapps, passion fruit) and you’ve got a meal made in heaven. Make a reservation at Halls Chophouse.

gospel brunches

House of Blues, various locations, U.S.A.
Go tell it on the mountain; a gospel brunch is served on Sundays at 11 House of Blues locations around the country. Local talent chosen by celebrated gospel producer and artist Kirk Franklin perform uplifting gospel tunes that’ll have you on your feet, and there’s an all-you-can-eat buffet with items like Creole Chicken Jambalaya, Chicken and Waffles (with Vermont maple syrup, housemade Buffalo sauce, fresh strawberries, and homemade whipped cream), and a create-your-own Bloody Mary bar (think bacon and hot sauce.) Heavens to Betsy, the House of Blues in Anaheim, California, now located in Downtown Disney, is moving to a larger venue at the Anaheim GardenWalk in the Anaheim Resort District this summer. Make a reservation at The House of Blues.

Gospel brunchesContinue Reading