March 26, 2015

The Best WINES to Pair With CHOCOLATE

From left, 2009 Taylor’s Late-Bottled Vintage Port; 2010 Mas Amiel Maury; Henriques & Henriques 10-Year-Old...
From left, 2009 Taylor’s Late-Bottled Vintage Port -
 2010 Mas Amiel Maury
Henriques & Henriques 10-Year-Old Malmsey 

Whether you’re a serious wine-lover or passionate about chocolate, it’s worth exploring a marriage of the two...

Think about texture as well as taste: A warm chocolate fondant is very different from a cold block of white chocolate.

March 25, 2015

DSTAGE in MADRID - Restaurant Report

Dstage Diego Guerrero
Dstage Diego Guerrero

Nervy young chefs like Diego Guerrero are making the Spanish capital an avant-garde culinary destination...

Move over, Barcelona...

March 23, 2015

SRI LANKA - The Spice Island - Platter up

Food and wine spices

Sri Lanka's  top restaurant - 
 the officious-sounding 
Ministry of Crab ...

Ministry is set in the Old Dutch Hospital complex, which should be the first stop ....for its excellent cafe and shopping scene...
Ministry is pumping on the signature cocktail - Small Island iced tea made with Sri Lankan tea and Old Arracka traditional spirit made from the sap of coconut palm flowers...

The signature dish -  chilli crab - comes out in a flurry of waiter's whites and torturous cutlery while the open kitchen rattles and howls... ahead! 

March 20, 2015


Fish La Boissonerie
BEST FOR A LATE SUPPER - Fish La Boissonerie 

Paris has always had a good wine scene, as Proust and Hemingway can attest, but in the past decade it’s really boomed as cool new  bars à vins and néo-bistrots have added to the traditional cafés...


March 19, 2015

EGG DROP SOUP & A Manners Manifesto

The best rules help us be good rather than seem good...

Like most rules, manners are written from social heights. Many decrees for how - or how not - to do things — as part of what Charles William Day, in “Hints on Etiquette and the Usages of Society” (1834), calls “the barrier which society draws around itself as a protection.”

 At my own table growing up... when we were small savages...  
we were ordered to push back from the table and contemplate our philistinism for several monstrous minutes before we could return, rehabilitated, to try again...

if we...
a) failed to put our napkins in our laps

 b) ate before everyone was served

c) served ourselves first

 d) opened our mouths while chewing

e) moved our forks from the left to the right hand

 f) ate with our hands

 g) failed to say please, thank you or excuse me

h) put our elbows on the table

 i) did not ask permission to stand


j) failed to eat soup properly 

a nearly impossible task, requiring always spooning away, sipping noiselessly while sitting bolt upright, obtaining any final spoonfuls by a discreet tip of the bowl...

I finally did eat soup properly. I was at a Chinese diner...

 If you can’t change your manners...
 change the soup.



Adapted from a recipe sent to me by Emily Lai, chef and owner of Masak-Masak in San Francisco.

This soup is very easy to make and very delicious. 

March 17, 2015

Wild WASABI Proves A Warrior Ingredient In Many A Dish

Wild wasabi proves a warrior ingredient in many a dish
Fresh wasabi has a far superior flavor and fragrance than ready-made pastes or powders. 

The pungent green wasabi is native to Japan...

Although wasabi rhizomes are available year-round, a special treat in spring isha-wasabi... the crispy new leaves...


Steak and broccoli with wasabi sauce

March 16, 2015

BLUFFIES - Five Ways To Enjoy The Succulent BLUFF OYSTERS

The Oyster Inn, Waiheke. Photo / Babiche Martens
The Oyster Inn, Waiheke. Photo / Babiche Martens

The season of succulent Bluff oysters kicked off this week...  

To celebrate the season of our South Island delicacy... five of the best ways to enjoy oysters...

March 15, 2015

HAVANA City Guide

The beautiful Cuban capital is finally coming in from the cold as relations with the US thaw...
 High on Havana … the view from the roof terrace of the Tropicana Penthouse.
 Photograph: Jonathan Ashton

The beautiful Cuban capital is finally coming in from the cold...

The streets are alive with the sound of jackhammers. It seems as though a new restaurant, shop, art project or hip private villa opens every week in Havana, which is embracing new sophistication and a spirit of optimism in the wake of December’s exciting announcements...


Raymond Blanc, co-host of new BBC2 series Kew on a Plate.
Raymond Blanc, co-host of new BBC2 series Kew on a Plate. 
Photograph: Laura Rawlinson/BBC/Lion Television

As a child, the famous chef used to catch and sell frogs to make enough money to be able to afford to eat out at one of his home town’s excellent restaurants, triggering an enduring love affair with Besançon and its cuisine...

CADAQUéS - Spain - In Search of DALI

A glorious shrine to folly, Dalí’s house in Port Lligat is the perfect place to start your tour.
A glorious shrine to folly, Dalí’s house in Port Lligat is the perfect place to start your tour. 

The Spanish Surrealist called the Costa Brava home for 50 years, and the persistence of his memory still looms large there...
Standing on the shore, it’s easy to understand why he called it “the best place in the world.” Cadaqués glistens white against cactus-dotted mountains. In front, the twinkling sea and its sun-drenched coastline, which stretches north to France—a mere hour away—and south, 2½ hours to Barcelona, beckon...

March 13, 2015

How Humble SALT Became the King of Ingredients

SALT ROCKS | There’s been a jump in premium salts coming to market world-wide.
SALT ROCKS | There’s been a jump in premium salts coming to market world-wide. 

 pink Himalayan 
 Tahitian black... 

Exotic salts  are more than a pinch hit for discerning foodies...

YOU COULD SAY it all started with a deconstructed lasagna. When a small, century-old, family-run saltworks in Maldon, England, got a call from El Bulli, they couldn’t have imagined what would happen next.
Wanted: one case of their finest crystals, in perfectly uniform but oversize pyramid shapes, individually wrapped in cotton wool and dispatched in haste to Ferran Adrià—the finishing touch for his latest culinary creation.

Thanks to the influence of tastemakers like Mr. Adrià, the humble substance has become a status ingredient not only in restaurants but in our own kitchens. 


 Stéphane Pacoud’s
Sea Scallops and Salmon Carpaccio With Black Tahitian Salt and Lime


Best Jazz Clubs in PARIS - It was after midnight at Le Duc des Lombards...

PARIS — It was after midnight at Le Duc des Lombards, and the jam session was warming up. A just-assembled quartet toyed with the jazz standard "Cherokee," volleying solos until the melody was barely discernable. 
For proof that Paris is a jazz town, come to the Duc on a Saturday night.
The most well-known jazz clubs are the three on the Rue des Lombards, near Les Halles:
 Le Baiser Sale and Le Duc des Lombards. 

March 12, 2015

Can BRUNELLO Match the Charms of BORDEAUX?

There’s a feeling in the wine industry that a wave of commercial success is about to hit  Italy’s Montalcino region.

‘In Montalcino... growers have been describing the 2010 season as nearly perfect.’...

March 10, 2015

BANGKOK’s GAGGAN Is Best Place to Eat in Asia

Chef Gaggan Anand, second from the right, claimed the top spot on the 2015 S....
Chef Gaggan Anand, second from the right, claimed the top spot on the 2015 S. Pellegrino Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list on Monday in Singapore. His Bangkok restaurant inhabits a two-level white colonial-style house. 

The contemporary Indian restaurant Gaggan in Bangkok topped the S. Pellegrino Asia’s  Best Restaurants list for 2015...
Gaggan was opened by 37-year-old Indian chef Gaggan Anand in 2010, and it sits inside a two-level white colonial-style house on a quiet street in central Bangkok. 
Chef Gaggan Anand says he’s inspired by ‘reconstructed, deconstructed memories of Indian cuisine’...