Shopping List: Three Philosophers Quadrupel Belgian-Style Ale


From Brewery Ommegang, the outpost of Belgian beer making in Cooperstown, New York, comes Three Philosophers Quadrupel Belgian-Style Ale, a blend of Lindemans Kriek Lambic and Belgian-style ale. According to Brewery Ommegang Brewmaster Randy Thiel,

A bit of magic occurs when the Lindemans Kriek is blended into the beer; the cherry flavors marry wonderfully with the chocolate and caramel malt flavors; the leathery lambic notes harmonize beautifully with the port-like notes; and the Kriek's acidity softens the sharp acridness of the dark roasted malts.

This special addition to Brewery Ommegang's regular lineup of Belgian-style beers was first released in fall 2003. Three Philosophers is a rich and complex beer, with the distinct flavor of cherry and caramel. The beer has a deep, dark reddish-brown color that gives it the appearance of a bubbly, full-bodied red wine.

Brewery Ommegang's Three Philosophers Quadrupel Belgian-Style Ale is $11.99 for a 750 ml. bottle at Gourmet Garage.


Agenda: 1/28 to 2/3

Food Events in New York City

1. Winter Restaurant Week 2004, discounted prix-fixe menus at participating restaurants, continues through Friday, January 30, and from Monday, February 2, to Friday, February 6. Online reservations at
2. Eat This New York, a documentary film about the struggle of two friends to start a restaurant in New York City, opens Friday, January 30, at Cinema Village, 22 East 12th Street (212.924.3363). [via mug]
3. Spice Weekend, a series of free workshops on spices at Wave Hill, 675 West 252nd Street, the Bronx, Saturday, January 31, and Sunday, February 1 (718.549.3200).
4. Chocolate, Coffee, Tea, a special exhibition of the utensils developed to serve these products when they were introduced through trade in the 17th century, opens Tuesday, February 3, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 Fifth Avenue at 82nd Street. The exhibition closes July 11, 2004 (212.535.7710).


Report: The Making of a Great Chef


As the temperature outside was dropping rapidly towards zero degrees last Thursday night, inside a lecture hall on the Upper East Side, chefs David Bouley (below) and Daniel Boulud (bottom) were contemplating the role of heat as a critical variable in cooking. “Conventional restaurant kitchens use too much heat,” declared Mr. Bouley. “We cook with far less heat than most restaurants,” he noted, as he extolled the virtues of balancing humidity and temperature control to properly roast a chicken, letting the fat in the skin melt first so it can “roll,” as he put it, around the bird in order to seal in the juices.

Read More >



Agenda: 1/21 to 1/27

Food Events in New York City

1. Food Justice and the Public Good: A New York City Summit on Farms and Food, sponsored by Just Food, Saturday, January 24, 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., at the Brookdale Health Service Center, Downtown Campus of Hunter College, 425 25th Street (at First Ave.). $35 to $75/person (212.645.9880).
2. Wild Game: The Chasseur's Bounty, a special menu served as part of the series "A Food and Wine Journey Through France," Monday, January 26, at Paradou, 8 Little West 12th Street, between 9th Avenue and Washington Avenue. $75/person (212.463.8345).
3. Great Restaurants, Great Recipes, with Florence Fabricant, David Rockwell, Tom Valenti, Kevin Zraly, and Tracey Nieporent, Monday, January 26, 8:15 p.m., at the 92nd Street Y, 92nd Street at Lexington Avenue. $25/person (212.415.5500).
4. Winter Restaurant Week 2004, discounted prix-fixe menus at participating restaurants, Monday, January 26, to Friday, January 30, and Monday, February 2, to Friday, February 6. Online reservations at


Westward Ho!


On the heels of Casa Mono and Bar Jamon, yet another new restaurant appears to be in the works for Mario Batali and company. Buried in this interview with Mr. Batali conducted by Bruce (not of Saute Wednesday) Cole, Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, is the following mention of a planned westward expansion of the Batali empire to a location at 10th Avenue and 16th Street:

Cole: What's next after this cookbook and Mono?
Batali: We're going to do a restaurant on the west side, on Tenth Avenue and Sixteenth Street, that will be our ode to classic Italian cooking. It won't be modern. It won't be hip. It won't be a specific region. It will be classic Italian cooking done in a very comfortable environment in a room with a forty-foot ceiling.

[Link via eGullet]

Map: Mapquest.


Agenda: 1/14 to 1/20

Food Events in New York City

1. Pickles and Cheese: Preserved in Tradition, a tasting of, well, pickles and cheese, Wednesday, January 14, 6:30 p.m. at the Artisanal Cheese Center, 500 West 37th Street (at 10th Avenue), 2nd floor. $75/person (877.797.1200).
2. The Making of a Great Chef, a discussion with chefs Daniel Boulud and David Bouley moderated by Leonard Lopate, Thursday, January 15, 8:15 p.m., at the 92nd Street Y, 92nd Street at Lexington Avenue. $25/person (212.415.5500). [sold out]
3. Beer Tasting Event, featuring five "tasting courses," Friday, January 16, 7:00 p.m., at Loreley, 7 Rivington Street. $15/person (212.253.7077). [via VittlesVamp]
4. Foods of the Veneto, a workshop with Julia della Croce, author of Veneto: Authentic Recipes from Venice and the Italian Northeast (Chronicle Books), Saturday, January 17, 10:00 a.m., at the James Beard Foundation, 167 West 12th Street. $50/members, $60/guests (212.627.2308).
5. The Silk Road Through Kings County: Ethnic Food Manufacturing in Brooklyn, a panel discussion about ethnic foods produced in Brooklyn, Sunday, January 18, 3:00 to 4:30 p.m., at the Brooklyn Historical Society, 128 Pierrepont Street, Brooklyn Heights (718-222-4111). [via New York Times print]


Test Run: Panini Grill


As I wrote in a previous post, the most rudimentary kitchen tools can be put to use to make panini. All one really needs is two pans, one pan for cooking and the other to place on top as a weight, to make the Italian pressed sandwiches. But, with the addition to my kitchen of a panini grill, a recent gift, I am now able to take the art of panini-making to the next level.

I gave the new appliance a trial run by making a panino very similar to the one I wrote about earlier, back when I was using the two-pan method. I layered focaccia with prosciutto cotto, sopressata, pecorino fresco, and arugula, brushed the top and bottom of the bread with olive oil, and placed it in the press. The heavy weight of the top part of the grill pressed the sandwich to perfection. The resulting panino was grilled to a crisp golden brown on the outside, while the pecorino just began to melt into the thin layers of the cured meats.

Test run: successful.


Cheater's Focaccia


So you want fresh focaccia, but you don't have a bakery nearby that makes it (or the time to make your own and and let the dough rise). Here's a tip for instant gratification: Consult your local pizzeria. Ask if the pizzeria will sell you unbaked dough. Mine did, for only $2.50, and before long, I was on my way to a quick and easy focaccia, or, more precisely, pizza bianca.

In the above version, I took one pound of pizza dough (a size "large") and rolled it out to approximately one-half to three-quarters of an inch thick, stretching it to fit an oiled 7" by 10" baking dish. You don't need to use a baking dish. I wanted to mold the dough into a rectangular shape in order to cut the bread into sandwiches, but you could also make a more rustic shape by stretching the dough out into a rough rectangle and placing it free-form on a baking sheet. I then pressed my fingers into the surface to make indentations, brushed the top with more olive oil and sprinkled sea salt and rosemary leaves over the top. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees and bake for approximately 15 minutes, until golden brown.


Agenda: 1/7 to 1/13

Food Events in New York City

1. "Book & Author Dinner" featuring Jacques Pépin, Thursday, January 8, 7:00 p.m., at the James Beard Foundation, 167 West 12th Street. Members/$100, guests/$125 (212.627.2308).
2. "Favored Reds for Cheese," seminar and tasting, Monday, January 12, 6:30 p.m., at the Artisanal Cheese Center, 500 West 37th Street (at 10th Avenue), 2nd floor. $75/person (877.797.1200).


Shopping List: Bodum Universal Timer


Five elements are key to the preparation of proper french press coffee writes coffee connoisseur Fortune Elkins on her Web site, Bread, Coffee, Chocolate, Yoga (BCCY): Measuring the correct amount of coffee, getting the temperature of the water just right, paying attention to stirring, steeping not too briefly or for too long, and, finally, decanting the brewed coffee into another container.

Achieving mastery of just one of these variables, the amount of time during which the coffee steeps, is virtually guaranteed with Bodum's Universal Timer (which I was also tipped off to in a BCCY post). The little gadget, custom designed for the french press, clips directly onto the stem of the plunger. Add coffee and heated water to the pot, set the timer to your preferred length of steeping (four minutes, for me), and you will be assured of steeping the coffee for the appropriate amount of time.

The Bodum Universal Timer is $9.95 at the Bodum Café and Home Store, 413-415 W. 14th Street (212.367.9125). The timer is not available for purchase on Bodum's Web site, but may be ordered by phone at 1-800-23-BODUM.