Vinho Verde Loves The New Portuguese Table

Vinho VerdeThis past Thursday, March 5th, was sort of my unofficial debutante ball, if you will. While there were no frilly dresses or father-daughter dances anywhere in sight, there was quite a lot of buzz, warm wishes, and plenty of good eats.

The event was the annual Vinho Verde Wine Tasting, held at the Astor Center in New York City. I was asked to speak about the marvelous ability of Vinho Verde, Portugal’s iconic wine from the Minho region, to pair with so many types of food. And to drive home the point, the uber-talented chef Jacqueline Lombard made no fewer than 19 dishes from my upcoming book, The New Portuguese Table, for the crowd of 150.

I have to admit, at first I was hugging the walls in dread. Never have I had so many guests eat my food at one time. But after watching people go back for seconds, and even thirds, I was relieved. Eventually, some nibblers figured out I was the author and suddenly a camera was stuck in my face for an interview for Portuguese TV, business cards were exchanged, a guest appearance on local TV was scheduled, and tons of advanced copies of the book were requested. Three days later, I’m still recovering.

For those unfamiliar with Vinho Verde, aka “green wine,” it wasn’t named, as many believe, in honor of the stunningly lush and green Minho region from where it hails nor for its yellow-green color (there are rose and red Vinho Verdes out there). Rather it got its moniker because the wine is meant to be drunk young, usually within a year of pressing. Read more »

All Tatted Up

Johnny Iuzzini

Last night The One and I braved Arctic winds to go to the book party for the bad boy of the pastry world Johnny Iuzzini. His tome, Dessert FourPlay: Sweet Quartets from a Four-Star Pastry Chef, which hit bookstores at the end of December, was co-authored by the lionized writer and former book editor, Roy Finamore, and all three were being seriously feted.

You have to understand something about me: when it comes to chic-beautiful-people parties, you’ll usually find me in the corner, hugging myself as I rock back and forth with a glazed look in my eyes. Blame it on flashbacks of high school prom, unsuccessful therapy, or poor socialization skills, but these kind of parties aren’t my thing. I like intimate. I like quiet. I like to be in control. So the moment we turned the corner onto King St. and looked at the crowd jammed into Jacques Torres’ Chocolate Factory, where the party was held, for a millisecond I considered bolting and being a no-show. Read more »

What Goes Up, Must Come Down

Failed Bread

One of the many things that boggles my mind is that as food bloggers become more proficient in their cooking skills–and technology get better, faster, and easier–the images of their dishes become shockingly good. I mean, perversely good. Take a look at smittenkitchen.com, 101 Cookbooks, or Cupcake Bakeshop. Some of those pictures are cookbook-worthy. And after having been in advertising for years, as well as being on set for the shoot for my own cookbook, I know the amount of work (and the tricks) that go into shooting the perfect image. For every cookie in a shot, a dozen are baked. For every pound of braised beef ribs nestled in a pot on the cover of a magazine, four pounds are cooked. Then the food stylist picks through pan, pot, or baking sheet finding that one specimen the camera will love. Read more »

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