Chef and Menu Report: Week of 8/10/14

Every week, we take a look at some new chefs and menus that have been announced across the country and around the world
Local Mahi Mahi prepared by chef Tiffany Derry
Credit: facebook/cfwftci

Local Mahi Mahi prepared by chef Tiffany Derry at last year’s Caribbean Food and Wine Festival.

Providenciales, Turks and Caicos
Grace Bay Resorts, in partnership with the Turks and Caicos Tourist Board and The Wine Cellar, has announced the official schedule for the Fourth Annual Caribbean Food & Wine Festival, running November 6 through November 8, 2014. The weekend-long festival features international chefs and winemakers who partner with local chefs to create an event focused on the local food and flavors of the island. This year’s event welcomes all-star chef Leah Cohen, David Lefevre, and Hans Peter Haider, as well as renowned vintners from Benzinger Family Winery, Cuvaison Estate, Weingut Salzl Seewinkelhof, and Duck Pond Cellars & Desert Wind Winery. The not-for-profit event will raise funds for The Department of Youth Affairs and the islands’ “Little Chefs” mentor program that supports and encourages young local chefs to pursue careers in hospitality, a vital industry of Turks and Caicos. 

Buffalo’s famous “beef on weck” sandwich has jumped boarders to the North, where PORT Restaurant, just east of Toronto, is offering their take on the delicious sandwich. Chef Thomas Heitz ditches the bare-bones Buffalo presentation, which involves dipping the top bun in au jus. Heitz adds sautéed healthy and colorful spinach, crispy fried onion slices for texture, horseradish cream sauce, and white Cheddar.

Red Mango announced the launch of its new Iced Coffee Collection featuring artisanal cold-brewed coffee, as well as iced and frozen lattes.  With the introduction of these products, the chain is proud to be brewing premium roasted Lavazza Tierra brand coffee beans, which are a 100-percent Arabica product made using the green coffees exclusively from three small-scale coffee-growing communities in Columbia, Honduras, and Peru. The Tierra Project, developed by Lavazza, is a sustainable development project aimed at improving the living conditions of the coffee-growers through environmental, economic and social actions. Lavazza Tierra coffee is Rainforest Alliance Certified, indicating that it has been grown and harvested with environmentally and socially responsible practices.

Mellow Mushroom, which was founded 40 years ago as one of the first artisan, stone-baked pizzerias in the country, is rolling back their prices to 1974. To mark their anniversary on August 20, for one day only, Mellow Mushroom will be re-introducing selections from their original menu including a small cheese pizza for $2.50. All Coca-Cola products will be 30 cents, with beer, including Budweiser, Michelob, and Pabst Blue Ribbon, sold for 75 cents apiece.

New York
Today, August 15, is National Relaxation Day and in honor of that, the Tommy Bahama Restaurant & Bar in Midtown is giving away some free ice cream via the two festive, bright orange trucks that will be cruising around the city today. In addition, the Restaurant & Marlin Bar will be serving complimentary Pina Colada soft serve to all shoppers and diners. Check out the below information to find out when they’ll be stopping near you:

12 p.m.
Truck One — Bryant Park Area (W 40th St, between 5th & 6th Ave)
Truck Two — Wall Street Area (Wall St between Broadway & Broad St)

2 p.m.
Truck One — Rockefeller Center Area (50th St between 5th & 6th)
Truck Two — Flat Iron District Area (21st between 5th & Broad St)

4 p.m.
Truck One — Tommy Bahama Store, Restaurant & Bar
Truck Two — Herald Square Area (6th Ave between 33rd & 35th St)

5 p.m.
Truck Two joins Truck One at Tommy Bahama Store, Restaurant & Bar

Louro has announced its two upcoming Nossa Mesa dinners. Chef David Santos will be serving an Italian pasta feast next Monday, August 18, and then one featuring summer truffles on August 25. As with all Nossa Mesa events, the dinners are BYO wine and beer.

Santos’s Pasta Tour of Italy ($55) will showcase his spin on six signature regional pastas, from Sardinia’s malloreddus with squid and uni bottarga, to Tuscany’s tortelli maremmani with aged ricotta, spinach, and boar ragu, to Piedmont’s famed egg pasta tajarin with rabbit confit and summer truffles, with Sicily’s famed manicotti as dessert.

The annual Summer Truffle Dinner ($85) will be a five-course menu featuring — you guessed it — summer truffles, with each of the four savory courses served with shaved truffles on top. Dishes will include wild striped bass tartare with truffle aioli and arugula tempura; poached duck egg with roasted potatoes, cipollini onions, and truffle pudding; risotto with parmesan foam and cultured butter; and whole roasted truffle chicken with corn pudding and summer squash.

Now through October 15, Citi Bike annual members are invited to “Dock & Dine” at participating Manhattan restaurants in the vicinity of Citi Bike docking stations. This second-annual seasonal campaign gives New Yorkers a new reason to bike to some of their favorite eateries and enjoy discounts and exclusive perks. Each participating venue’s offer has been specially created for Citi Bikers and redemption is simple: just show your Citibike key fob.

Bromberg Bros. Blue Ribbon Fried Chicken will offer a free milkshake with any purchase; Bodega Negra Cafe is offering 30 percent off grab-and-go until 5 p.m., and 50 percent off tacos from 4:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.; La Maison du Croque Monsieur will provide complimentary fresh lemonade with purchase of a croquet; LAVO Italian Restaurant’s fruit and cheese platter of assorted Italian cheeses, seasonal fruit, and pickled vegetable is just $18; and Petite Abeille is offering  a complimentary liege waffle with the purchase of a Petite Abeille signature burger.

Marco's — the trattoria from the owners of Franny’s and Bklyn Larder — has announced their newest menu, serving executive chef Danny Amend's simple, market-driven Italian cooking. Harkening back to its original roots of Franny's reimagined as a trattoria, Marco's new menu features rustic and seasonal vegetables and salads, handmade pastas, and rotisserie and wood-grilled meats and fish, always sourced locally and prepared simply. Divided into four sections (Antipasti, Primi, Secondi, and Contorni), the menu includes wood grilled oysters with pickles and black pepper, and golden spotted tilefish with wood-grilled bread salad; the menu is accompanied by an outstanding collection of Italian wines plus beer and cocktails.

The iconic 21 Club can order the Filet Mignon Steak Salad of farmed heirloom tomatoes, Fourme d'Ambert blue cheese, and fried shallots served in special honor of National Filet Mignon Day (August 13) through Saturday, August 16 in the Bar Room  for lunch and dinner, and lunch only at Bar 21.

Saturday, August 16, La Bodega 47 Social Club is celebrating National Rum Day by serving rare rums and "Cokteles Especial" in the heart of Harlem. Each cocktail is $12, and the menu includes the “Americolada” of El Dorado 3 Year Cask Rum, China Amer, coconut Cream, pineapple, lime, Angostura Bitters; “A Damn Good Cuban Daiquiri” made with Banks Golden Age Rum, Piloncillo, and pressed lime; and a “Latin Old Fashioned” of  El Dorado 12-Year, Island Spice Molasses, and orange and grapefruit bitters

Wednesday, August 20 is National Lemonade Day, and Hard Rock Cafe New York is celebrating by serving a variety of new fruit cocktails served in a coffee-press vessel that infuses fruit into the cocktail throughout the entire drinking process, offered through Labor Day. The specialty cocktail menu include the “Tropical Pineapple Press,” made with fresh pineapple chunks and lemon pressed together with Bacardi Mango Fusion Rum, Finest Call Mango Puree, and made-from-scratch lemonade; the “Watermelon Wave Press,” featuring Bacardi Dragonberry Rum, Cointreau Orange Liqueur, Finest Call watermelon purée, made-from-scratch lemonade, fresh lemon, and strawberries, and the “Blues Berry Press,” a delicious combination of Bacardi Wolfberry Rum, homemade lemonade, fresh blueberries, blueberry purée, and pressed lemons.

This September, Finish, Faroese, Norwegian, Swedish, and Nordic-inspired American chefs will go head-to-head creating their own take on the popular Nordic street food — the hot dog — during the NORTH Nordic Food Festival. The championship will take place Monday, September 15 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. during the two-day Brooklyn Brewery Street Food Festival that is part of the week-long NORTH Festival. The chefs will draw on their culinary expertise and food knowledge to make their most creative take on the popular street food hot dog. Festival-goers can purchase a ticket for $49, which will allow them to sample hot dogs from all competing chefs. The ticket also includes access to all of Brooklyn Brewery’s craft beer — open bar — and cider provided by Rekorderlig Cider. A People’s Choice award will go to whichever hot dog receives the most votes from festival-goers. There will also be a panel of esteemed judges ranging from chefs to journalists to fun personalities, who will sample all of the competing hot dogs. The judges will announce their winner at the end of the night. Chefs competing include: Finish chef Sami Tallberg; Faroese chef Leif Sorensen; Finnish chef Richard McCormick; Neal Fraser of restaurants BLD, Fritzi Dog and Vibiana; Paul Backer of restaurant Tilia; Frida Ronge of restaurant vRÅ; Fredrik Berselius of restaurant Aska, and chefs from The Copenhagen Restaurant.

Bubby's High Line has debuted the "Kitchen Sink," an ice cream sundae made with 16 scoops of homemade ice cream topped with pretzels, pecans, peanuts, chocolate chip cookie crumbs, chocolate and caramel syrup, rainbow sprinkles, whipped cream, and cherries. A miniature flag adorns the all-American treat and serves 8 to 10 people.

Restaurant il Buco Alimentari & Vineria has debuted “Focaccia Farcita:” sandwiches served on thinner, house-made focaccia. They are available for dining in or take-away, are served all day, with a dish of marinated olives. Varieties include: house-cured prosciutto with arugula and Parmesan, and kale, pecorino, and ricotta; Caprese with tomato, mozzarella, and basil (with option of house-cured prosciutto); a house-cured Toscano salami will soon be added.

Lower East Side restaurant Louie & Chan just introduced a new executive chef, Kevin Chun, formerly of Yunnan Kitchen and Macao Trading Co. He has debuted a menu of Italian dishes with seasonal ingredients and a modern twist that includes Polpettine — lamb meatballs, roasted radishes, maple syrup, and mint; Tagliatelle Ricci —  house-made tagliatelle, fresh sea urchin, spicy cucumber julienne, caviar; Spaghetti Vongole — house-made spaghetti, clams, yellow tomato, Chan’s garlic chives, black garlic, and bottarga; and Lombardina Pizza —  zucchini purée, squash blossoms, chrysanthemum, Taleggio, and Sicilian oregano.

Champagne Brunch will be returning to Beauty & Essex on Sunday, September 7. The brunches will be served 1 to 6 p.m. every Sunday and DJ Danny Estrella and DJ Raize will be providing music for the patrons’ enjoyment. The full brunch menu will be available as well as a “Chef’s Choice Prix Fixe Menu.”

City Winery Nashville has named Kristin Beringson as head chef, who will bring her unique talents to the Nashville venue, the fourth of Dorf City Winery’s locations with residences in Chicago, Napa, and New York City. Similar to its sister locations, the Nashville venue will offer an intimate 300-seat concert hall, restaurant and private dining operation, as well as a fully functional winery, the first of its kind in Music City. Each City Winery eatery features a signature cuisine, from Italian, to French, to Spanish, and Middle-Eastern; Nashville guests will have the opportunity to select from the restaurant’s award-winning wine list, which will feature more than 400 wines, plus 15 City Winery selections available on tap.  

Birmingham, AL
With the great success of Birmingham Restaurant Week (BRW) the past four years, REV Birmingham is pleased to announce the dates for the fifth annual BRW 2014, to be held Friday, August 15 to Sunday, August 24. Known as Birmingham’s premier dining-out event, BRW will again celebrate the city’s culinary culture by offering incentives for Birmingham-area residents to revisit their favorite restaurants or to experience recently opened venues for the first time. Restaurants will offer special two and three-course prix fixe lunch and/or dinner menus in the $5-, $10-, $20-, and $30-per-person range during the 10-day event. Several menus will also include beer and/or wine flight components, brunch offerings, and other drink specials.

The Second Annual Northern Chefs Alliance Dinner is taking place this Sunday, August 17 at the 175-acre Fish & Game farm in Hudson Valley. The event will be hosted by Zakary Pelaccio and his co-chefs Jori Jayne Emde and Kevin Pomplun of Fish & Game, and will feature fire pits, smokers, grills, ice cold cocktails, and the bounty of the region. Attending guests are invited to mingle with participating chefs that include April Bloomfield of The Spotted Pig and The Breslin, Matt Jennings of Townsman, and Sean Brock of McCrady's and Husk. Tickets are on sale now for $250, and proceeds benefit FarmOn!

Sommelier Christopher Birnie-Visscher will team up with New York brewery Southern Tier on Thursday, August 21 for a family-style beer dinner held at db Bistro Moderne. Kristin McAdams from Southern Tier will host the event with a variety of styles to compare and discuss such as the Hop Sun, Unearthly, and Warlock, and executive chef Jason Pringle will serve family-style dishes that complement the notes of each craft beer. The ticket cost is $65 all-inclusive, and space is limited to 40 guests.

Costa Mesa, CA
The third-annual PigOut will take place on Sunday, August 24, from 3 to 7 p.m. at The California Scenario. Building on the success of PigOut 2.0, PigOut 3.0's main attraction will be a 250-pound Templeton Rye Duroc Pig of the Templeton Rye Heritage Pork Project. These pigs are fed a special diet that is formulated to best utilize the spent grain byproduct from the Templeton Rye whiskey, and only 25 of these pigs are in existence. This year we will also be featuring chefs including Amar Santana, Mark McDonald, Greg Daniels, Eric Samaniego, and Gabriella Mlynarczyk, and cocktail creations by Gabrielle Dion, Jason Schiffer, Jarred Dooley, and Koire Rogers. There will also be a culinary demonstration area with Mike Puglisi of Electric City Butcher, who will be performing a deconstruction demonstration, a pig farmer "Q&A," and a knife skills demonstration. [related]

Firefly, one of Los Angeles’s longstanding dining and drinking destinations, welcomes executive chef Paul Shoemaker, who brings his menu combining seasonal ingredients with playful technique to showcase natural flavors in unexpected ways. He has previously worked in the kitchens of Water Grill, along with Michelin-starred Bastide, French Laundry, Alain Ducasse, and Providence, all shaping his current culinary philosophy. Some of the dishes included in the chef’s menu are South carolina big-eye tuna tartar, which melds umeboshi and avocado with smoked sesame; chilled Maine lobster bloody Mary salad, which is tossed with heirloom tomatoes and topped with celery sorbet and caviar; Niman Ranch hanger steak pairs with smoked Rosa Bianca eggplant, Hen of the Woods mushrooms, and green onion; and bone marrow ravioli is topped with potato, red onion compote, and truffle foam. Desserts created by Raymond Morales, and the latest summer cocktail menu, designed by Damian Windsor, Jason Bran, Francis Castagnetti, and David Castagnetti, complete the experience.

Shiki Beverly Hills, helmed by executive chef Shigenori Fujimoto, has introduced an A-5 Grade Wagyu beef, Momotaro tomatoes and an omakase menu that encompasses selections from both the sea and land. Now offering a 4-course omakase lunch from 12:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., which includes two sushi courses and two appetizers of the chef’s choosing for $60. The same menu items during dinner will also be offered, with dishes such as Wagyu Beef Tohban; Momotaro Tomato; Miso Marinated Sea bass with Peach Compote; Halibut Sashimi with fresh Black Truffle; and a scallop and Blue Crab Salad.

Oakhurst, CA
On Friday, September 12, Erna’s Elderberry House will commemorate the 150th anniversary of the signing of the historic Yosemite Grant Act with a celebratory dinner served by staff in period attire. The region’s only 5-star restaurant presents an array of specially-selected local ingredients, inspired by Abraham Lincoln’s inaugural dinner at the White House. Chef de cuisine Jonathon Perkins presents a menu featuring an amuse bouche of Braised Duck en Gelée Hunter Style, brioche crusted Merced river trout, sugar snap pea soup (a White House specialty), Washburn’s prized “Beef a la Mode,” Waygu beef short ribs braised in red wine and spices, and chilled lobster salad. Pastry chef Kyle Waller tops the evening off with an Early Settlers’ Favorite Huckleberry Tart. Dinner is available at a cost of $135 per person and reservations are required. To extend the celebration even further, overnight accommodations at Chateau du Sureau may be arranged at special rates beginning at $295 per night.

Chef Vitaly Paley, owner of Imperial and Portland Penny Diner, has promoted sous chef Doug Adams to Chef de Cuisine of both restaurants. In 2011, StarChefs honored Paley as "Chef Mentor of the Year,” and Paley’s dedication to guiding young star chefs continues with his promotion of Adams at Imperial. 

Adams grew-up in Texas and moved to Portland in 2008, where he worked at a fine dining restaurant on Portland’s South Waterfront. He quickly moved on to work for James Beard Award winner Andy Ricker, and recent Food & Wine’s “Best New Chef” Gregory Denton. In 2011, Adams began working under Paley’s mentorship and tutelage at Paley’s Place, and last fall, Adams was selected as the first featured chef for Culinaria, a new dinner series that aims to bridge the gap between food and art lovers. In 2013, Adams won a competition leading up to the famed “Wild About Game” event, along with fellow Imperial chefs, where they beat out several other area chefs creating dishes with rabbit and elk meat.

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