Chef And Menu Report: Week Of 12/14/14

The website MealSharing is promoting community and generosity this holiday season by donating $10 to Feeding America for every guest at a MealSharing dinner between Christmas Eve and New Year's Day. Anyone who wants to meet new people and make new connections over the holidays can participate in a MealSharing dinner by making a free account to host or join a meal. Hosts simply create a meal on the website specifying what they are making, how many people can come to their table, and the optional "chip-in" price (the average is $8) per person to help offset the cost of ingredients. Then, guests can easily search for meals, see reviews for past dinners from each host, and view the menu for upcoming meals.

City Winery Nashville is closing out the year with two fantastic shows by the five-time, Grammy-winning multi-instrumentalist and singer songwriter, Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives. Sam Outlaw will be opening both the 7 p.m. and 11 p.m. on New Year's Eve. shows, which will offer a variety of ticket packages including the VIP Dinner Ticket Packages, which will include a prix fixe five-course dinner with wine pairings in City Winery's barrel room. This menu will also be offered in the restaurant throughout the evening and will feature items like an arugula and king trumpet mushroom salad, roasted chestnut and parsnip bisque, and chocolate ganache torte.

The next day, they will ring in the New Year with its first-ever New Year's Day Extravaganza with Langhorne Slim and Cory Chisel, plus special guests. The wine bar, restaurant, and concert venue will also host a New Year's Day brunch with live music, special sparkling cocktails, and build-your-own Bloody Marys.

New York
Nearly every bar and restaurant around the city is offering a festive holiday cocktail, and here are a few that should definitely be on your radar:

·         The 21 Club decks the halls with their flavor-packed 'Tis The Season Wine Punch ($17): apple cider is simmered with spices including cloves and cardamom and then chilled before adding Myer's rum, red wine, and sugarplum-sized bites of apple, pear, and orange. 

·         Fung Tu's new seasonal concoctions include Money Tree: fino andamontillado Sherry, cynar, bitters, and Scotch rinse; the off-menu specialty dubbed the High Five features sesame-infused cognac, Averna, Chartreuse, and a Chinese five-spice ice cube, which infuses the cocktail with the Chinese five-spice blend as the cube melts into the drink.

·         Il Mulino Prime shakes up a new take on a classic cocktail with their Cosmopolitan No.2 ($18): house-infused cranberry Russian Standard Vodka, Cointreau, and fresh lime.

·         Louro's new drinks include the Auteur: rye, amaro, cinnamon, and pine; Winter Old Fashioned: bourbon, apple brandy, and genepì; Stockholm Syndrome: Scandinavian bitters, orgeat, and lime; Country Comfort: cognac, peach, and tarragon; and Arctic Cynar toasted chili-infused rye, cynar, lemon, grapefruit, and honey.

·         NYY Steak is the place to warm up with a Bronx Bomber Toddy ($16): Templeton rye, Carpano Antica vermouth, Combier cherry, orange bitters, and fresh-steeped Twinings of London honeybush, Mandarin, and orange tea.

French-bred chef Francois Payard grew up celebrating Epiphany (12th day after Christmas) by eating Galette de Rois, a puff pastry almond tart filled with luscious marzipan. Traditionally, a figurine is hidden in the cake and the person who finds the trinket in their slice becomes "king" for the day. This year, chef Payard is partnering with Le Creuset to hide a miniature Dutch oven in each of the hundreds of galettes he is producing in his bakeries. However, two of the galettes will contain yellow figurines. Whoever finds the figurines will be gifted cookware from Le Creuset and Payard goodies for a sweet start to the New Year.

Just Salad has announced their new winter menu, which includes four new bowls: Warm Rustic Grain, Artisanal Angus, New Year's Resolution, and Jamaica Jammin'. The seasonal dressing is Zesty Mango-Lime, and the seasonal ingredients that can be added to any of the above for an additional price are jerk chicken, roasted cauliflower, Turkish figs, and broccoli coin.

SD26 has launched their Guest Bartender Series. This monthly series will showcase the talent of some of the best bartenders in the city as they share their favorite spirits and cocktail wisdom. Guests can enjoy cocktail specials for the evening plus bar snacks like complimentary pizza and $5 Panzerotti or Salumeria Plates starting at 6:30 p.m. On Wednesday, January 28, Christopher Dobey of Maysville will be highlighting his specialty: whiskey, by offering a curated American Whiskey flight and an Old Fashioned flight. All three Old Fashioned cocktails will also be available full size to imbibe that evening.

SoHo Tiffin Junction offers a five-step customizable menu featuring Modern Indian cuisine, and is dedicated to "food with care:" flavorful food that is low in calories and high in quality, at a great value. Dishes are tailored by customers' ingredient preferences and rank in at an incredibly low 450 to 900 calorie range despite an infinite number of combinations. Meals are prepared to order, beginning with a choice of three options (in either regular or petite size): Tiffin Dosa, Tiffin Bowl, or salad, followed by choice of rice, then sambar and bean variations, and finally a choice of protein, before finished with an assortment of chutneys and garnishes. 

Kate Kolenda is the Restaurant and City Guide Editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @BeefWerky and @theconversant.