Street Fare: El Taquero, Farmers Market, Los Angeles


Wall mural at ¡Loteria! at the Farmers Market (November 24, 2004).


Wishing You a Happy Holiday

The Food Section is getting an early start on the Thanksgiving holiday. Regular posting will return next week.

Photo: Mae Reid sitting on a wooden block next to a large turkey with an unidentified man standing behind. From the Chicago Daily News negatives collection, DN-0003451. Courtesy of the Chicago Historical Society.


Chasin' the Bird 2004, Part II: Thanksgiving Pairings by the Press

The challenges involved in cooking Thanksgiving dinner -- with its myriad courses and multiple guests -- may only be matched by the conundrum of selecting an appropriate wine. White or red? Dry or sweet? Domestic or international? Stressed out oenophiles across the United States may end up giving thanks that the meal is eaten only once yearly.

But is it all that complicated? In the first part of this two-part post, we heard from wine bloggers about their recommendations for Thanksgiving wine pairings. Their picks ran from South African chenin blanc to Spanish tempranillo, with suggestions that smartly took into account the fact that the meal in question is not just turkey, but a hodge podge of sweet and savory side dishes.

For Part II, I have rounded up links to articles on Thanksgiving wines which have recently appeared on the Web sites of major food media outlets. The usually suspects -- pinot noir, German riesling -- seemed to crop up everywhere, but some unique options were offered as well. The New York Times tasting panel highlighted Iron Horse Cuvee R, a tart sauvignon blanc with 15 percent viognier. The Los Angeles Times focused exclusively on Beaujolais crus, not to be confused with Beaujolais Nouveaux (though made from the same Gamay grape), calling them "the perfect match for the flavor free-for-all that is the Thanksgiving feast." For its part, epicurious provided recommendations for beer pairings to last the entire meal -- from appetizers (malty lager) to dessert (English brown ale).

Follow the links below to read all of the articles:

»Pairing tips for Thanksgiving [San Francisco Chronicle]
»The feast's perfect match: Beaujolais crus [Los Angeles Times]
»What Becomes a Turkey Most [New York Times]
»Thanks for the Brews [epicurious]
»Red and White Solutions [Washington Post]
»Sweet Talk: Thanksgiving After-Dinner Drinks [Food and Wine]
»Glass notes [Boston Globe]
»Holiday meal merits several wines [Philadelphia Inquirer]
»A Perfect Pairing [Food Network]


Chasin' the Bird 2004, Part I: Wine Bloggers Talk Turkey

'Tis the season for an onslaught of articles recommending wines that pair well with the Thanksgiving meal. Judging from the large number of google searches landing upon last year's post rounding up the food media's suggestions for wines with turkey, I decided to revisit the topic again this year, but this time with a twist.

Before collecting links to all of the major media recommendations for Thanksgiving wines, I thought it might be interesting to gather wine pairing suggestions from the growing world of wine blogs too. I sought out the opinions of several wine bloggers (as well as two particularly wine-oriented food bloggers). Their recommendations varied widely -- from Zinfandel to Champagne, German Riesling to Chenin Blanc. Thanks to all who responded, and without further ado, here's what they said.

Read More >



Agenda: 11/17 to 11/23

Thanksgiving Day Dining Out Round Ups
· Thanksgiving Day Reservations [New York Magazine]
· Turkey Take-Out [New York Magazine]
· Bye-Bye, Birdy [New York Post]
· Open on Thanksgiving [Manhattan User's Guide]
· Thanksgiving Options [strong buzz]

Events This Week
1. Grand Tasting 2004, annual wine tasting event benefiting City Harvest, Wednesday, November 17, 7:00 to 10:30 p.m., at The Puck Building, 295 Lafayette Street. $99 to $150/person (212.567.5500).
2. Beaujolais Nouveau Celebration, tasting event presented by the French Institute Alliance Française, Thursday, November 18, 5:30 to 7:00 p.m., at the Oyster Bar at Grand Central Station. $35/members, $45/non-members ( 212.307.4100).
3. Thanksgiving Barrel Tasting, food and wine tasting benefiting culinary scholarships at the New York Institute of Technology Culinary Arts Center, Sunday, November 21, 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., at Peconic Bay Winery, 31320 Main Road, Cutchogue, New York. $75/person (631.734.7361).
4. The Compleat Squash, discussion with horticulturist and author Amy Goldman, Sunday, November 21, 3:00 to 4:30 p.m., at the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture, 630 Bedford Road, Pocantico Hills, New York. Free (914.366.6200).

Ongoing Events
1. Have You Eaten Yet? The Chinese Restaurant in America, an exhibit exploring the Chinese restaurant’s origin and growth in America and its cultural significance, at the Museum of Chinese in the Americas (70 Mulberry Street, 2nd Floor). The exhibit continues through June 2005. Suggested admission is $3 (212.619.4785).
2. Cookin': A Sizzling Entertainment, "a fast-paced kitchen percussion show combining comedy, rhythm, and non-verbal performance," at the Minetta Lane Theatre, 18 Minetta Lane (212.420.8000).


Shopping List: No More Menu Mishaps

With definitions to help you decode menus, order food and drinks, and pay for your meal in a foreign language, these nifty guides from Berlitz promise to take some of the confusion out of dining abroad. The miniature guides -- each fold to 4-1/4" x 3" so they may easily be stashed away in a wallet -- are available in French, German, Italian, and Spanish versions.

Eating and Drinking in French, Eating and Drinking in German, Eating and Drinking in Italian, and Eating and Drinking in Spanish are $3.95 each at


Shopping List: No Fuss Brushes

The November 2004 issue of Gourmet features an article highlighting these space age pastry and basting brushes. Unlike traditional brushes with natural or nylon bristles, which can get gummed up with butter and oil or melt on contact with a hot pan, these ultra-modern brushes have bristles made of silicone, making them easy to clean and resistant to high temperatures. I’ve never tried them, but the arrival of turkey-basting season provides a timely excuse for an equipment upgrade.

Silicone pastry brushes and basting brushes are $14.95 each at Additional shapes and sizes range from $9.99 to $14.99 at


Agenda: 11/10 to 11/16

1. 7th Annual Chocolate Show, Thursday, November 11, through Sunday, November 14, at the Metropolitan Pavilion & Altman Building, 125 West 18th Street. $20/person (866.CHOCNYC).
2. 12th Annual Canstruction Competition, display of winning designs of sculptures made from cans of food, benefiting the Food Bank of New York City, Thursday, November 11, to Wednesday, November 24, at the New York Design Center, 200 Lexington Avenue (at 33rd Street). Price of admission is one can of food.
3. End of the Harvest "East Ender" Excursion, tour and tasting at Long Island's Bedell Cellars, Saturday, November 13, 9:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. $100/person (212.289.3543).
4. The Future of Food, a documentary film about genetically modified food, will be shown Saturday, November 13, 5:45 p.m., at the Margaret Mead Film & Video Festival at the American Museum of Natural History, 79th Street and Central Park West (212.769.5305).
5. Bangers and Beer, Savoy Restaurant and Brooklyn Brewery present an evening of cask conditioned beers paired with house made sausages, Monday, November 15, at Savoy, 70 Prince Street. $65/person (212.219.8570).
6. RAW TALENT: America's Ham Artisans Take On Europe's Masters, exhibit and tasting of American and European hams, presented by the American Museum of Food, Sunday, November 14, through Tuesday, November 16, at the International Hotel/Motel & Restaurant Show, Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, 655 West 34th Street.
7. Wine and Food Pairings for Thanksgiving Dinner, tasting event hosted by writer Alan Richman and Lettie Teague, Wine Editor, Food & Wine, presented by Women for WineSense, Tuesday, November 16, 6:15 p.m., at 3 West Club, 3 West 51 Street. $55/members, $65/non-members (reserve on-line)

Ongoing Events
1. Have You Eaten Yet? The Chinese Restaurant in America, an exhibit exploring the Chinese restaurant’s origin and growth in America and its cultural significance, at the Museum of Chinese in the Americas (70 Mulberry Street, 2nd Floor). The exhibit continues through June 2005. Suggested admission is $3 (212.619.4785).
2. Cookin': A Sizzling Entertainment, "a fast-paced kitchen percussion show combining comedy, rhythm, and non-verbal performance," at the Minetta Lane Theatre, 18 Minetta Lane (212.420.8000).


Vintage Kitchen Confidential

Ludwig Bemelmans may be best known as the author and illustrator of the extraordinarily popular Madeline series of children's books. But, the man behind the red-haired French schoolgirl was also a painter, novelist, screenwriter, and, for much of his life, employee of hotels and restaurants. Between 1938 and 1942, Bemelmans published four books about his career as a waiter and restaurateur, selections of which have been collected in the new book Hotel Bemelmans.

The stories, accompanied by charming drawings by Bemelmans, reveal the cast of characters who made up the behind-the-scenes world of the professional kitchens of the 1920s and 1930s. In an introduction to Hotel Bemelmans, Anthony Bourdain writes: "Kitchen Confidential -- as I learned recently, reading these pages for the first time -- was nothing new at all. Bemelmans got there first, more frequently and better, describing brilliantly the whole world of kitchens, back passageways, pilfered foods, dining rooms and banquet halls -- a strange, fabulous and sometimes terrible world populated by rogues, con-men, geniuses, craftsmen, lunatics, gypsies, tramps, and thieves. It is a truly great book that paints a universe both fascinating to outsiders and immediately familiar to anyone who has ever dwelled there."


Shopping List: Gastronomical Gambling

DinersdeckThe Diner's Deck is a collection of restaurant coupons with the fit and feel of a deck of playing cards. Each of the 52 cards, redeemable at a participating New York City restaurant, contains a description of the venue and a coupon for $10 off. The Manhattan-centric decks come in three neighborhood flavors: Midtown, Downtown East, and Downtown West (Uptown and Brooklyn versions are in the works for 2006). Like any coupon collection, the decks are a gamble. Use three cards, and you'll break even. Use every card in the deck, and it's a $490 value. But, let the cards collect dust for a year like that stack of Bed, Bath, and Beyond coupons you've been saving, and, well, you lose.

The Diner's Deck is $29.95 from