Archive for the ‘celebrity chefs’ Category

Batch & P*ONG (NYC)

April 2, 2008


Everything about Batch, Pichet Ong’s new bakery on West 10th Street, is just as lovely, adorable and amazing as he is. Pink walls, yellow peonies and eclectic hand crafted chandeliers made me almost as happy to be there as the first bite of chewy crunchy peanut butter cookie right out of the oven. Then came the chocolate chip cookies- crisp and buttery on the edges, warm and gooey in the middle. To die for!

I think my favorite, though, was the walnut melt- a bite sized cookie dusted with powdered sugar similar to a mexican wedding cookie (however, the Vietnamese coffee cake with icing was a close runner up). Coconut Raspberry Green Tea Cupcakes also looked tempting. I have to go back to try more!

The coffee was great, and was served with thick and creamy half-n-half in a glass bottle that came from Manhattan Milk & Dairy, organically produced in the Amish country. If you’re into foie gras, you can get your puppy a foie gras dog biscuit, and then go next door to P*ONG and get your self a foie gras taco.

Batch, which opened last week, is next door to Pichet’s restaurant P*ONG in Greenwich Village.


Pichet’s friend Gary works in the front and Betty is the baker


Gary talking to my friend, chef Tessa Liebman

Pichet behind the counter

Here are some other delicacies I recently photographed at P*ONG.






all photos © erin gleeson

Batch & P*ONG | 150 West 10th street new york ny 10014
T 212 929 0898 | Batch closed Mondays

NOW CASTING FOX’S HELL’S KITCHEN!

August 5, 2007

Via Erin:

FOX’s sizzling unscripted series Hell’s Kitchen is now casting. Do you have the stamina to meet world-renowned Chef Gordon Ramsay’s extremely high cooking standards?

“Hell’s Kitchen” will follow the aspiring chefs 24/7 through the perils of working in Chef Gordon Ramsay’s restaurant, capturing the wrath, heated emotion and adrenaline rush that comes with cooking in a top-notch restaurant.

We’re looking for outspoken, competitive, and engaging men and women (21 and over) with varying culinary experience. Applicants must be passionate about food and aim to become the next winner of “Hell’s Kitchen.”

LOS ANGELES OPEN CALL INFO:

Santa Monica Farmers Market
Arizona Ave and 2nd St.
Santa Monica, CA
Date: August 1, 2007
Time: 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
(For more information, please contact Jennifer Marosy at jamarsoycasting@yahoo.com)

LAS VEGAS OPEN CALL INFO:

Jet Nightclub at The Mirage
3400 S. Las Vegas Blvd.
Las Vegas, NV 89109
Date: August 7, 2007
Time: 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
(For more info, please contact Deborah Tarica or Peter Huntley at hellskitchencasting@yahoo.com)

The SnarkReport: Moldy Morimoto

July 26, 2007

With my dining partner Matt in tow, we were off to the METApacking District for a restaurant week lunch at Morimoto. When Hua told me that Morimoto NYC was like being in Vegas, my interest piqued. Vegas?? In NYC?? No WAY, can’t wait! (Sarcastic face here). This perceptive comment has inspired this no-holds-barred, special Vegas edition of Umami Mart, live from NY!

As I rushed to meet Matt on 10th Avenue between 15th and 16th Streets, I noticed Morimoto one side, and these two joints exactly across the street.


Craftsteak, Del Posto AND Morimoto–three restaurants owned by celebrity chefs–on the same block?? How could this be? It reminded me of one of those strip malls that I grew up surrounded by– the above two are side by side and look exactly the same! Matt noticed that Del Posto looked like an Olive Garden from the front, which I thought was pretty on point. At least Morimoto’s entrance had some flair to it.

Location, VEGAS Factor: **** (out of 5 stars- one star taken out cause c’mon, even Vegas isn’t as bad as the suburbs)

Perhaps one of the things I was most anticipating in visiting Morimoto was the interior design– Tadao Ando is one of my favorite architects, and I was ready to be wowed.

I was far from wowed- frankly, the interior is a confused mix of materials and concepts. Ando is known for his minimal, sparse concrete designs, but here there were these curtain like waves undulating from the ceiling, that extended down one side of the restaurant. Another wall was just a plain wall flanked by clear glass. Uncharacteristically inconsistent.

There were these cement columns that jutted out from the center of the room, that acted as lamp posts essentially. Cement steps led you down to the lounge bar area, and the bathrooms.



So there’s a lounge and bar downstairs that could fit maybe 30-40 people. Can’t you just imagine all the lines of coke that can be snorted right off this bar? Vegas factor is way up on this one.


This glass bottle motif was used as the backdrop for the bar, which I thought was pretty neat looking (we’re in Vegas here, cut me some slack).


Also, there was a wall of these bottles along one side of the cement steps going downstairs, backlit to make these starshaped designs. There was really no function for them to be there except to add bling to the place.

Interior, VEGAS Factor: **** (one star taken out cause it’s still Ando, and he could never be entirely Vegas-y although he really did try!)

Now the bathrooms, what a beauty! I never wanted to come out! Forget the sushi lunch- you can find me on the can! When you walk into the stall, you’re faced with an infinity mirror behind a beautiful glass wall of cherry blossoms. It’s pretty hot.



Now this looks like just another toilet, but au contraire! This, my friend, is the Toto toilet. It’s like magic. Look at all these buttons! Such toilet fun should be banned from public restrooms- I never wanted to come out!

Bathroom, VEGAS Factor: ***** (it’s so perfectly Vegas!)

And now, the food. Does that really matter, when you’re in Vegas? Of course it does, but when you’re in a place like this, it’s no longer about the food– it’s about the scene, the hype, the decor, what everyone’s wearing, blah blah– all the stuff that really probably shouldn’t matter, but all the sudden you realize that you’ve become THAT person. It’s sorta upsetting to know that an Iron Chef would put himself in such a superficial category of trendy restaurateurs (although I’m sure he doesn’t see it this way, and whatever, this is Vegas).

Alright, alright, so the food. We got the sushi platter and the cod with a soy sauce glaze. Nothing too crazy. Oh wait, and we got Morimoto’s signature ‘tuna pizza’ as a starter, which was pretty good.

Here’s the sushi platter– the eel came sloppily toppled over, which I thought was tacky, and ironic.


The waiter mistakenly quoted the white tuna for mackerel. Get it straight people.


Cod came dripping in soy sauce, and did NOT come with a side of rice! We ordered a side of rice (major faux pas), and when we got the check, we saw that it was $5. Isn’t that crazy? The Morimoto gods were loathsomely punishing us for wanting our carbs!!!

We were curious and got a bottle of the Morimoto pilsner. It’s brewed in Oregon with “free range coastal water” (whatever that is, it means they are allowed to charge us $25 for a bottle) by a company called Rogue Ales. It was nice though, I liked it– if nothing else, we got to keep the bottle.


Best part? I found this piece of mold on the plastic bag that came to put the bottle in. Isn’t it sort of pretty? It looks like a little nugget of pot.


Food/ Drink, VEGAS Factor, **** (The sushi itself wasn’t all bad, but both dishes were pretty forgettable. Pretty on par with what you would expect in Vegas, so it gets four stars)

Miscellaneous observations and questions asked throughout the meal:
– Music was one of those super cheesy chillout lounge soundtracks that you find in the dollar bins nowadays. The 90s are over, HELLO! And the volume was at an awkwardly loud volume.
– “Don’t you think it’s weird that all of the waitstaff are white?”
– Flies were buzzing all over the place. We were confused about that. Flies at Morimoto?
– Wait staff were all dressed in awesome outfits by Maria Cornejo. Yes, I asked.

Here is Matt’s 2 cents about the Morimoto Vegas Experience (via chat):

Matt: – flies, really? i just paid $5 for this fucking rice

at least the spray of water up my ass was free
11:52 PM i wish i took a shit there


And there it is: $5 rice, but f
ree ass water, flies a buzzin, scatterings of mold, identity crisis interior, a pornstar bathroom, and a coked out bar room. Check please!

Morimoto Overall Vegas Factor: **** (one star taken out cause we’re in New York, not really Vegas- although sometimes, I can’t quite distinguish one from the other)

The Umami Reader, vol.002

June 4, 2007

Noteworthy readings, websites, blogs and eats:

  • Gawker says: Rosé is the beverage of choice for hipsters and old folks for the summer (make sure to also read the WSJ article, and watch the video too)
  • kanshefle listens to KCRW’s podcast, Good Food
  • Erin’s updated food photography website— gorgeous!

Speaking of Sam Mason, I would like to take the opportunity to share with you my experiences with this HOT pastry chef. When two friends, my mom and I went to uber-experimental WD-50 last summer, Mason whipped us up some fantastic desserts, which may have been the highlight of the meal for me.

I am a bad food blogger, and I can’t recall what exactly any of these dishes were (I don’t even want to guess, cause my explainations wouldn’t do the creations justice), and I’m sorry the pictures aren’t that pretty, but here are some to give you an idea of Mason’s artistry:

Now the best part: we got to go back to the kitchen to say hello to Wylie, and unbeknownst to us, meet this hottie specimen of a patisserie named Sam Mason. Wylie kept his kitchen going like a well-oiled machine, but when we came in he was really friendly and goofy. LOVE Wylie.

While I was taking in all of the kitchen madness, I turned around to see my MOTHER gazing into Sam’s eyes and GROPING his beautifully tattooed arm!! Like her hand was literally feeling up his full 4-color sleeve. HILARIOUS!!! She kept giggling like a little girl and cooing about how much she loved his desserts, when really, she was just in love with HIM. I was in-awe slash mortified, but needless to say, he was eating it up. Who knew she had so much game??

Mason has since left WD-50, and will be opening his own dessert joint, Tailor, which according to Eater, has been a horribly delayed process. When it finally opens, I will: A.) not be taking my mother, so I can B.) try the groping arm tactic myself!!

*k*

***
Please send us any fun food-related links to umamimart@gmail.com

Want to Date a Chef?

May 31, 2007

If I had the dough (pun intended), I would.

“On Monday, June 11th, hot NYC chefs will be auctioned off for “dates” to benefit Friends of the FCI, a nonprofit organization that funds French Culinary Institute student scholarships.

Some of the one-time-only dates on the auction block:

• Train with Wylie Dufresne of wd~50 in his kitchen, then join him for dinner at his favorite late-night hang-out, Momofuku Ssäm Bar.
• Have dinner with Jean-Georges Vongerichten at his favorite New York City sushi restaurant.
• Learn to master your favorite dessert with Melissa Murphy, owner of Sweet Melissa Patisserie, and appear on an episode of her podcast “Simply Baked with Sweet Melissa.” Then join Melissa for lunch at the patisserie.
• Get a private, behind-the-scenes tour of Jacques Torres’ Chocolate Haven followed by a hands-on chocolate class.

Among the other chefs participating in “Date Night” are Johnny Iuzzini, executive pasty chef of Jean Georges; David Chang of Momofuku Noodle Bar and Momofuku Ssäm Bar; Lee Anne Wong of Bravo’s Top Chef; Jean Francois Bruel of Daniel; Aaron Sanchez of Centrico and Paladar; André Soltner, formerly of Lutèce; Julian Alonzo of Brasserie 8½; Dan Barber of Blue Hill and Blue Hill at Stone Barns; and Cesare Casella of Maremma.”

Bidding starts at 7:30 PM while cocktails and bites are served from 7–11 PM and at Cipriani at 200 Fifth Avenue ($250 per person, purchase tickets by June 6th; 646-254-7521; www.frenchculinary.com).

James Beard Foundation Awards

May 13, 2007

When I was asked to shoot the Beard Awards, I was so excited. Tickets to this black tie affair cost anywhere from $400 to $2,500…and they paid me to come and eat! (as long as I took a few photos). It was quite an event- basically the Oscars of the food world. It was amazing to see so many foodies in one place, eating and talking about food. Does it get any better than that?

This was the first year it was held at Lincoln Center, and I think that made it a much bigger scene. On the red carpet, I was shooting next to The Today Show, who interviewed everyone from Wolfgang Puck to Thomas Keller. They were doing a story on how chefs have become celebrities, and asked everyone how they think this has happened. Most said because of the Food Network, and many mentioned how happy they were that there has been a return to the kitchen- something we haven’t seen since the 1950’s.

Martha Stewart was late and kept us waiting in the press line for over an hour. She finally arrived on the red carpet after announcing this year’s Rising Star Chef, David Chang, of Momofuku Noodle Bar (see above photo).

After 3 hours of awards, all the tuxedos and ball gowns flooded on to the 2 promenade levels of Avery Fischer Hall to eat and drink their hearts out. A few special people proceeded in to the VIP area for a sit down, several course meal (the $2,500 tickets), but most people roamed and chatted. Many of the top restaurants in the country had tables with little amuse bouches to nosh on as you mingled with the likes of Tom Colicchio and Daniel Boulud.

The best thing I tried was an olive oil bon-bon (see photo below), a hard crystallized ball filled with EVOO. It crunched and then popped in your mouth. Very surprising. On the main, the food and the presentation was pretty imaginative- I kept hearing everyone talk about the foie gras cotton candy. Also, it was a warm night, so on the veranda overlooking the Lincoln Center fountain, they served an amazing selection of wine, scotch, vodka and rum.

Overall- a fantastic event. I left drunk and full. I encourage you all to start saving so you can go next year!

To view this year’s winners, click here.

For more of my photos on the James Beard Website click here.

Pictured below: Bobby Flay, Katie Lee Joel (Top Chef), Wolfgang Puck, Daniel Boulud, Hannah Storm (the evening’s host), Padma Lakshmi (Top Chef), Thomas Keller, Tom Colicchio, Jean-Georges Vongerichten. (all photos © Erin Gleeson 2007).

















From NY Mag: HARK! James Beard Award Nominations

March 21, 2007

After much speculation, the 2007 nominees for the James Beard Awards, the Oscars of the restaurant world, are in. Adam Platt, Rob Patronite, Robin Raisfeld, and Grub Street all filled out Beard brackets (or at least revealed whom we’d like to see win) on Friday. Here’s how the academy’s coming down.

Rising Star Chef
As expected, David Chang was nominated and is, it says here, a stone-cold lock for the award. But Daniel Humm, slipping in under the age wire, was also nominated for his brilliant work at Eleven Madison Park. The other nominees are all from out of town: Nate Appleman of San Francisco’s A16, Graham Elliot Bowles of Avenues in Chicago, Michel Richard of Citron in Washington, and Patrick Connolly of Radius in Boston.

Best New Restaurant
Shocker: Three months ago Ssäm Bar was selling Asian burritos; now they’re nominated for Best New Restaurant, along with L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon, Guy Savoy in Vegas, Cochon in New Orleans, L.A.’s Cut, and (another pleasant surprise for New York) A Voce.

Best Chef New York
The nominees for the big one skew young. Wylie Dufresne of wd-50, picked by all four New York writers, did indeed make the list. The other finalists: Terrance Brennan of Picholine (a Platt pick), Gabriel Kreuther of the Modern, Floyd Cardoz of Tabla, and David Waltuck of Chanterelle.

***
Get the full official list here.
– kanshefle, nyc

Hottie Harold’s Restaurant in the Village

March 20, 2007

Grub Street reports that Top Chef winner Harold Dieterle will open his new restaurant, Perilla, in Greenwich Village at 9 Jones Street!!! any day now…

thanks Melissa for this!

*k*

footnote: Troy Division and i went out for a drink at Marion’s a few months back when Harold walked in with Dave (eliminated from the top 3)!!!! i totally freaked out: when they went out for a smoke, i started waving at them frantically, and screamed like a raging fanatic through the window. thank god they couldn’t hear me, but they were nice enough to wave back. Troy was utterly embarrassed, but equally excited. it was great to see that they still hang out!

The Chang Soigné Treatment

March 6, 2007

i’m really NOT a Momofuku fan, but i think i’m in love with David Chang. he really is a captivating writer (wait, i hope HE wrote this, and not some lame PR person…). am i feeding the hype? of course– but dude’s seriously gotta work on his ramen.

thanks Irwin for this.

Boulud and Morimoto at Japan Society, Oh My!

March 2, 2007

, New Sorry folks, this special symposium on monday with Boulud and Morimoto and Kikkoman CEO is totally sold out! Tomoko, who works in the Corporate Program at Japan Society, just told me that she’s got over 400 people vying for a seat. i’ll suckerpunch a press person for a spot and will be sure to take good notes…

and speaking of Kikkoman, did you ever see this? friggin hilarious.

*k*